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Beacon on the Hill

Rendering of Workforce & Emerging Technologies BuildingAfter years of dreaming and planning, dirt is moving at the site of the future Workforce and Emerging Technologies Building at Weatherford College.

The three-story, 70,000-square-foot building will allow WC workforce programs to move into the next era of job training with ample room for the college’s new robotics program and future projects such as cybersecurity, automation and simulation.

The facility will also house long-time programs including machining, industrial maintenance, cosmetology and workforce health professions programs.

“Our programs have produced quality training for our students, and now the facilities will match the quality of the instruction,” said Janetta Kruse, dean of workforce and technical education. “It’s safe to say it’s a historic moment in the evolution of our college. The three-story training center will offer programs based on local industry needs and will combine classroom learning and skills training with on-the-job training through apprenticeships and partnerships with business and industry.”

In addition to the WC programs, Texas Workforce Solutions will be a tenant in the new structure, occupying much of the second floor. It is the first time the state agency will be housed on a college campus, and the partnership will help the college offset the
$27.5 million construction cost.

“It just makes so much sense to come into the fold here at Weatherford College and help support a great facility like this,” said David Setzer, executive director of Workforce Solutions North Central Texas, during a groundbreaking ceremony held Oct. 9. “We’re really proud to stand with you as we continue to build a great future for the students of Weatherford College, Parker County residents and the rest of your service area.”

WC President Tod Allen Farmer said having Texas Workforce Solutions on the campus will allow the unemployed to have a seamless transition back into the workforce.

“At Weatherford College, we are serious about helping the recently unemployed get back on their feet,” he said. “We are rapidly expanding our workforce programs in an effort to both support our business community and to get Texans back to work. The recently unemployed are going to receive the type of training that will allow them to quickly move off of public assistance programs and back to tax-paying jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.”

To make room for the new facility, Couts Hall was demolished this past spring while Huckabee Architects put the final touches on the design plans. Construction of the new building is being undertaken by Imperial Construction of Weatherford.

In addition to classroom space, the new facility will host a several training rooms and presentation rooms to accommodate groups of all sizes from around the community.

“This will be a facility where the community can gather to support life-long learning in an ever-changing environment,” Kruse said, “all made possible through partnerships based on collaboration, trust and cooperation.”

State Representative Phil King also spoke during the October groundbreaking and highlighted the state’s standing as the number one exporter in the country, the producer of 40 percent of all crude oil in the country and as the number one job creator in the country as of 2019.

“We’re in good shape, and the Weatherford College service area is sitting right in the fast growth area [of the state],” King said. “If you are willing to come to this new structure and you are willing to work hard, this kind of opportunity will open doors for you like nowhere else in the United States.”