NORTH FOREST – Civic, educational and government leaders met last Tuesday morning, to hear about the plans for a new educational complex that is expected to benefit the education of the community, but also be a spearhead for a revitalization of the whole North Forest area.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony was hosted by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, whose efforts at raising financial and governmental support for the project, and the minority community, were instrumental in achieving the fruition of the complex.
The project had originally been part of the HCC bond issue with $48 million set aside for these buildings and support. But changes in the budget priorities almost doomed the project, but Lee and others continued with their vision for North Forest, and were able to regain $28 million to assure the project. Lee credited the HCC board, Chancellor Maldonado, HCC-NE President Margaret Ford Fisher, HCC trustees Adriana Tamez, Dave Wilson, and Zeph Capo and others with making sure the project would become a reality. The previous North Forest board, represented by Maxine Seals and Michael Frazier, were also credited.
In her remarks, Congresswoman Lee noted that the North Forest area is “zealous and jealous” and will respond to this new opportunity. She sees the building not just as an educational opportunity, but also an economic development leader for the future of the community.
She credited the previous North Forest school board and the community for having the forsight to vote a referendum to join their district with the Houston Community College district.
As an example of what this project could mean economically, she had represented on the speaker’s dias the Japanese Consul General Tetsuro Amano, and the Toyota General Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Adrenne Trimble. The obvious implication is that they are interested in graduates of this facility, for jobs in the industry, but just as important, Congresswoman Lee indicated she has had talks with Chrysler, GM and Toyota about the benefits of a car or parts factory in the North Forest area, which has abundant land, proximity to major shipping, and a large labor supply that will now have the skills they need.
In his remarks, Chancellor Maldonado made the point that the type of education needed for Automotive Technology, in today’s world, will also provide training for many other types of jobs.