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Blinn College awarded $1.35 million to expand job training

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Jay Williams

Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, announces a $1.35 million grant to the Brenham Economic Development Foundation and Blinn College to double the size of Blinn’s A.W. HoddeJr. Technical Education Center. The expanded capacity will allow Blinn to introduce new training programs for local job seekers.

BRENHAM — The Brenham Economic Development Foundation announced Monday it’s been awarded a $1.35 million grant to double the size of the Blinn College A.W. Hodde, Jr. Technical Education Center.

The increase in size will allow Blinn to introduce new training programs for local job seekers put out of work following a string of Blue Bell layoffs this spring coupled with a downturn in the oil industry.

The project paid for by the U.S. Economic Development Administration is expected to attract new business to the area, while helping existing industries to upgrade technology and processes in hopes of creating new jobs, officials said.

Blinn College Board of Trustees President David Sommer commended the EDF for their work during the time of “economic crisis.”

“We’re proud to partner with everyone who has helped bring this new job training facility to Washington County and look forward to working together to make Brenham strong again,” Sommer said in a press release.

The funding is expected to help the existing center in the Brenham Business Park at 2910 S. Blue Bell Road to increase to 24,000 square feet. The expansion is expected to be complete by summer 2016 with training beginning that fall. Blinn will handle day-to-day operations

in the extension and develop new programs to support industrial machinery mechanics, commercial truck driving and heavy equipment operation programs.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams made the announcement and U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, State Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst, State Rep. Leighton Schubert and Brenham Mayor Milton Tate also gave short remarks.

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