Nearly two decades ago, Cy-Fair business leaders recognized the need for a local community college.

The Lone Star College-CyFair campus opened in 2003 to help close gaps in the region’s workforce and to support students seeking higher education opportunities. Founding President Diane K. Troyer’s goal was to “provide a comprehensive college that responded to the full range of local needs,” officials said.

LSC-CyFair President Valerie Jones, who moved into this role in summer 2022, said the campus grew from 321 employees serving 7,000 students to the largest campus in the Lone Star College System with 1,200 employees serving 22,500 students.

“A huge part of how we got to where we are is that we have continued over these two decades to stay very, very closely connected with the business leaders, the chamber of commerce and the school district, and being responsive to the community's needs and the community's growth,” she said.

Campus leadership regularly communicates with officials from the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce, Cy-Fair ISD and industry partners to ensure LSC-CyFair can meet growing employment demands, Jones said.

These efforts start at the high school level. Jones said thousands of CFISD students take advantage of dual-credit enrollment, through which students can simultaneously earn high school and college credit.

Additionally, the College Academy launched in 2017, expanding the opportunity for CFISD students to earn college credit by allowing them to earn their associate degree by the time they graduate high school. The 60 credit hours equate to the freshman and sophomore year of a bachelor’s degree, and the cost savings expands future opportunities for many students, Jones said.

“As we know, the freshman year of college can be a really challenging experience for any of us—that transition from home life to stepping into adulthood on your own. So, for students to have that academic exposure and experience when they're still in the supportive environment of a high school structure can be tremendously helpful,” she said.

Other unique partnerships over the years include a joint public and college library with the Harris County Public Library System offering programming for all ages on campus. Additionally, a partnership with Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 led to the Emergency Services Education Center, which features a working fire station, training center and Life Flight helipad to train future firefighters and paramedics.

The main campus on Barker Cypress Road has expanded over time, and two specialty satellite campuses have opened nearby—the LSC-Cypress Center on Clay Road and the LSC-Westway Park Technology Center off Beltway 8. These facilities house workforce programs, including drafting, machining and welding, as well as information technology, visual communications and cybersecurity.

Moving forward, Jones said LSC-CyFair will continue to be intentional about being a space for all students to thrive.

“I see us in the next 20 years as a college needing to be very attuned to what our students need from us to be able to reach their individual potential,” Jones said. “That means that we need to be an institution that's flexible and innovative to support students in their evolving needs as well as staying connected with our local business and national industry partners as we have so that we continue to make opportunities available and pathways for students.”