New AC President sees a green future

by Larry Lemmons
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas,  The new President of Amarillo College says the institution will look toward a lot of green job opportunities.

Dr. Paul Matney has been interim President since the death of Stephen Jones earlier this year. Matney's position was made official Wednesday.

He says the successful wind program will continue to grow and also the college will be submitting a grant for a solar energy program.

Dr. Matney was, in fact, a freshman at Amarillo College more than forty years ago.  He may be the only freshman to become President at AC.

Beginning this fall the college will be offering a new program using federal stimulus funds that fills immediate labor needs.  The unique short program was suggested by the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission.  The four to six month program trains industrial maintenance technicians.

Dr. Shawn Fouts of Amarillo College says,""The old term might be jack of all trades. They will take basic safety courses, OSHA requirements. They'll take computer courses. They will take basic electricity and wiring. They'll take basic plumbing. They'll take basic HVAC. They'll be a certified forklift operator when done. And then they'll take basic welding."

The computer classes will be given at the Polk Street campus.  The initial students will receive the training free and the program is completely filled. It's a practical way to get students jobs.

Matney says, "The foundation of what we do is to prepare students to go on for a University degree but forty percent of our students want to take a program that leads to a certificate or an associate degree that immediately leads into a job. So those are our two primary areas and we're going to continue doing that in a very affordable fashion."

A graduate of the program can take a certificate of completion to prospective employers.