Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content

North Lake College Named as Model for Civic, Educational Partnerships

IRVING, Texas. 03 March 2000 - Learning in a changing world means many things today. The pioneering efforts of North Lake College to make learning more relevant and meaningful by forming partnerships with local educators, employers, and the community has received statewide recognition.

The governor's office and the Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness have chosen North Lake College as the community college model for civic and educational partnerships. North Lake will be featured in upcoming state legislative sessions because of its outstanding involvement in promoting education in the community.

North Lake has seventeen partnerships at work today with the Irving Independent School District, area businesses, and the City of Irving. The multifaceted partnerships focus on developing job skills, particularly in high demand occupations, and increasing the number of high school students who graduate and enter college.

Dr. David England, President of North Lake, states: "The success of our local economy and quality of life in our community depend on our ability to prepare all students to be involved citizens and productive employees. Working together with the schools, the city, and area businesses to help young people find education and career paths that match their abilities and interests will benefit us all."

The Irving High School Ninth Grade Initiative is one such partnership that has shown an unprecedented success rate. The educational partnership provides North Lake student as tutors and mentors to 180 at-risk Irving High ninth graders. This group of at-risk high school freshmen traditionally has had over a 50% failure rate in courses, chronic absenteeism, and a high dropout rate. After the first year of the program, the group of students working with the North Lake tutors had a 14% failure rate, between a 93% and 97% attendance rate, and zero dropouts.

Other North Lake educational partnerships include an initiative to improve English as a second language; evening college centers at secondary schools in Irving; and a program to enroll Irving High School students in college math courses after they have completed their high school mathematics requirement. The School Alliance and Outreach Initiative, supervised by Lynda Edwards, Dean of Institutional and Staff Development, provides a North Lake counselor and financial aid advisor at one of the three Irving high school campuses one day of every week. Dean Edwards said that the educational partnerships have made the "idea of college" more tangible to high school students. "It lets them know that we are all in this together. We want them to succeed as much as they want to succeed."

A grant from GTE helped finance the Community Learning Center at Irving High School. The center will offer both high school and college courses to the students during the day and to adults in the evening. The center will feature self-paced, computer-based courses, career assessment, and professional counselors and instructors. The NEC America Electronic Telecommunications Convergence Technology Program is a partnership with NEC America to prepare technicians to install and maintain new proprietary technology developed by NEC and other telecommunications technology. NEC America opens their state-of-the-art-training center to North Lake students during their second year in the program and donates equipment for use on the North Lake campus. Enrollment has doubled in the program's second year.

To offer training to meet the needs of the area's building boom, North Lake and member construction companies created the Construction Education Foundation (CEF). The purpose of the partnership is to provide 1,300 construction companies in the North Texas area with qualified, technically trained workers for all levels of the business. CEF uses the facilities at North Lake to provide a wide range of courses in such areas as construction management, masonry, plumbing, commercial heating and air conditioning, and glazing. The college and the CEF are renovating a 60,000-sq. ft. building as a training facility near DFW airport. CEF member companies have provided over one million dollars for the project. CEF enrolls approximately 800 students in North Lake every semester. Once the new facility opens, in the fall of 2000, enrollment is expected to double. A unique feature of the program is that most of the training is offered as part of a college credit technical degree program that is articulated with the Construction Management Program at Texas A&M University.

Additional partnerships with area businesses feature an electronic telecommunications program with Delta Airlines and a Microsoft Authorized Academic Training Provider program at the college. The Microsoft Corporation provides instructors for the training.

North Lake's civic partnerships include a new community library on campus. The library is a joint venture between the City of Irving and North Lake College. The 50,000 square foot library will be built on the college campus and used as both a college and community library. It is estimated that the joint project will save between $3-5 million in taxpayer funds.

A partnership with the college, the City of Irving, the Irving Community Library, Texas Workforce Commission, and Irving Cares, a non-profit charitable organization, established the South Irving Center of North Lake. The City of Irving provided 3,500-sq. ft. of classroom and office space in its Health and Human Services building for the college at one-third the market lease rate to establish the center. The building also houses a branch of the city library, which provides additional classroom space; a satellite branch of the Texas Workforce Commission, which refers clients to the college center; and Irving Cares, which also refers clients to the center. Together, the agencies and the college serve as a "one-stop-shop" for the southern region of the city. The college enrollment in the center increased from 60 to 350 in one year.

The recognition from the Governor's office commends the aggressive efforts of the college to meet the work force development and educational needs of the region it serves.