With a mix of families, culture and commercial businesses, Brays Oaks is one of Houston’s most vibrant communities. Its more than 73,000 residents in southwest Houston have top-rated restaurants and cultural institutions at their fingertips. They also have excellent educational offerings.
The Brays Oaks campus of Houston Community College has an array of programs for younger and older students. Academics include credit courses that enable students to transfer to four-year universities as well as continuing education classes for professionals to upgrade their skills. The campus has courses in health careers, IT, business, and more.
“Many of our fast-track training leads to certificates to allow students to land jobs in high-demand areas quickly,” said HCC Southwest President Madeline Burillo-Hopkins.
Programs include residential construction trades courses such as electrical technician, air conditioning, drywall install and repair, and carpentry, as well as process technology, American Sign Language, emergency medical service and healthcare career courses like nursing.
Some of the most popular courses include:
Introduction to (Computer) Networks. Students who complete this course— part of The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) program—learn how to configure a small network, perform basic configuration on routers and switches, implement IP addressing schemes and manage basic network security.
“Cisco remains one of the giants in the Information Technology industry,” said Fidelis Ngang, department chair of computer systems, networking, telecommunications, and artificial intelligence. “A CCNA industry certification may very well be your passport to a well-paying job in the IT industry.”
Electrical Technician I & II. These courses cover basic theory and practice of electrical circuits. Students learn wiring methods for single- and multi-family homes and are well positioned to work in a variety of industries.
“Electrical wiring is an exciting career and very much in demand,” said George Davis, program director of Construction Trades-Continuing Education. “As students expand their skills, they also expand their choices and opportunities in the industry.”
Medical Business Office Professional. This program prepares students to work in a front-office role at a medical practice, healthcare facility, or insurance company. “Our students are excited about our billing and coding training, and they will need externships and jobs in the healthcare community,” says Jackie Franklin, program manager of medical billing and medical coding.
Phlebotomy Technician Program. This program provides students with skills to perform a variety of blood collection methods on adults, children and infants. “Clinical laboratory professionals depend on phlebotomists to provide quality specimens for analysis,” said Konnie Briggs, program manager of EKT/Phlebotomy.
Brays Oaks HCC also has offerings for small businesses and business people. The school’s Center for Entrepreneurship – Southwest provides mentoring for small business owners and competitions for entrepreneurs. For example, with the SBA InnovateHER Competition, entrepreneurs can showcase products and services that affect the lives of women and families, have the potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace.
The Community Learning Program also offers classes for community members. A unique, free community offering for the coming year is The Mattress Mack School of Selling, an online program HCC will run in partnership with Houston’s Mattress Mack of the iconic Houston furniture store Gallery Furniture.
HCC entrepreneurs in residence teach the six virtual sessions and Mattress Mack delivers a three-minute video for each. Sessions run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on August 10, 12, 17, 19, 24 and 26.
Burillo-Hopkins encourages community members to regularly check the school’s website for updates and additional course offerings.
“We’re pursuing grants and partnerships to create free training programs for students to up-skill, re-skill and retrain for jobs,” she says. “Looking ahead, we will enhance training opportunities across HCC Southwest campuses.”
— By Deborah Blumberg