By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Investment in North Central Texas College (NCTC) with an eye on future employment opportunities for Gainesville residents was high on the agenda at the recent Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) meeting on Monday.
Expanding on previous development at NCTC at the Career and Technology Center (CTC), the GEDC approved matching funds of $150,000 to be given for use at the CTC on the premise that the funds will purchase new equipment to be used at the center to teach students which will ultimately supply local manufacturers who have expressed a need for trained personnel with experience in computer numerical control (CNC), computer lathe machine operators and hydraulic pneumatic electronics (HPE).
GEDC economic director Kent Sharp said, “Combined with the NCTC matching funds, the $300,000 will be spent on four CNC mills, 4 lathes, and 4-5 HPE machines for classes to be held at the CTC.”
He continued, “Many of our local manufacturers will be looking to expand their workforce in these areas and we felt it was a good investment for the college and for our city to invest in a program that will benefit all aspects of our community.”
The CTC is the newest building on the NCTC campus where programs range from welding and HVAC classes to marine motor repair and offer a wide range of lifelong learning classes.
The newest investment by the GEDC follows a previous program in which $250,000 worth of welding machines were purchased for the college in order to enhance the welding program and offer classroom experience in a profession that is in high demand with local industries.
Sharp said that in order to convince companies to come to the Gainesville area, there must be a labor force to draw from.
He said, “Even though we have a labor force that is approximately 2,000 more than last year, we are still able to supply jobs and keep the unemployment rate at only 4 percent. People move here because of job opportunity and by investing in NCTC, we can offer well trained and quality workers for new as well as existing companies that are located here.”
Other GEDC news included reports that the city sales tax revenue should surpass a conservative estimate of projected funds of $1 million for the year.
“The sales revenue totals should be between $1.25 and $1.3 million at the end of this fiscal year,” Sharp continued, “With a sales tax revenue levied on oil field equipment and the high costs of drilling machinery, the totals could change drastically if major sales take place in the next few months.”
According to Sharp and Texas law, the oil field manufacturing industry is the only manufacturing entity in Texas in which a sales tax can be levied.
Regarding the new industrial park in planning stages west of the Outlet Mall, the board approved going forward with an engineering company to create a master plan for the layout of the park with the budget set not to exceed $40,000. Engineering costs will be determined at an hourly rate.