Local workforce needs are changing—and COM is changing with them.

COM trustees recently approved an ambitious Academic Master Plan that will bring an additional 19 new career programs “online” over the next few years.

The ambitious plan was compiled under the direction of COM’s Interim Vice President of Instruction Dr. James Templer, with input from college faculty, employers and residents from across the college district.

Specifically, college leaders heard from petrochemical plant managers, hospital administrators, small business owners, school superintendents, other area employers and alumni.

The college held Academic Master Plan forums across the college district, asking workforce leaders what skills will be needed for emerging technologies and jobs in Galveston County.

From those conversations and additional research, COM drafted a 49-page plan that lays out anticipated job openings, salaries, anticipated costs and facilities needed to provide training for each new recommended program.

Not surprisingly, petrochemical, industrial trades and healthcare programs top the list of new programs.

The Academic Master Plan lists five programs in nursing and allied health that the college intends to open in 2019 and 2020, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that expands its existing Associate Degree Nursing program shortly thereafter.

“The growing number of hospitals and clinics along the I-45 corridor mean additional nurses and healthcare workers are needed,” Dr. Templer said. “These new programs will help COM supply skilled professionals for critically needed jobs.”

Allied healthcare programs anticipated to open in fall 2019 are Surgical Technician and Imaging Technician.

Dental Hygienist, Respiratory Therapist and Physical Therapy Assistant programs are scheduled to open in 2020.

Each program requires new classrooms and designated labs.

To train the next generation of petrochemical and industrial trades workers, COM will open pre-engineering programs in Civil, Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering in fall 2019.

Also approved in the Academic Master Plan are new programs in Instrumentation/Analyzer Technician and Electrical.

Other academic offerings include Cyber Security in 2019, Culinary Arts, Communications (a multidisciplinary program with graphic arts, fine arts and humanities), English Language and Literature, Barbering and Massage Therapy.

“An Academic Master Plan provides a blueprint for the college going forward,” said COM President Dr. Warren Nichols. “It tells us what jobs will be available to our growing population over the next few decades. COM intends to be ready so students in our community can prepare themselves for jobs without leaving the area.

“In order to add many of these programs, we will need to build new instructional facilities,” Dr. Nichols said. “The campus is at capacity; we need more space to provide the programs our community needs and deserves.”

A Citizens Advisory Committee is studying the Academic Master Plan and the need for additional classrooms and labs. A recommendation will be presented to COM’s board of trustees later June.