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
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.