Houston Community College forms partnership to address protective gear shortage

This collaborative effort, known as H-Force, is meant to bring together resources, technologies and expertise to address the Houston area’s growing needs amid the global pandemic, according to a release from HCC. (Courtesy Fotolia)
This collaborative effort, known as H-Force, is meant to bring together resources, technologies and expertise to address the Houston area’s growing needs amid the global pandemic, according to a release from HCC. (Courtesy Fotolia)

This collaborative effort, known as H-Force, is meant to bring together resources, technologies and expertise to address the Houston area’s growing needs amid the global pandemic, according to a release from HCC. (Courtesy Fotolia)

Houston Community College announced April 8 that San Jacinto College, The University of Houston at Sugar Land, the Fort Bend County Judge’s Office, TX/RX Labs, Alief ISD and Houston ISD have joined forces to address personal protective equipment shortages for local medical professionals and first responders, who are in close contact with those infected with COVID-19.

This collaborative effort, known as H-Force, is meant to bring together resources, technologies and expertise to address the Houston area’s growing needs amid the global pandemic, according to a release from HCC.

“Everyone needs to do their part to help, and our institution is honored to be at the heart of this effort to bring educational partners and local organizations together so we can have an even greater impact,” HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado said in the release. “Through H-Force, we can work together and with the community to support innovative ways to address the significant need for protective equipment to support those on the front line working to keep our community healthy and safe.”

H-Force members are already supporting a number of initiatives across the city, including the project initiated by TX/RX Labs to use 3D printers to produce face shields for healthcare workers at Memorial Hermann Health System, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine, the release said.

HCC also received an approved waiver from Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to use its high-capacity 3D printing labs to produce face shield components. Production is currently underway, according to the release. In support of this effort, the HCC Foundation has provided a lead grant of $30,000 to HCC.



Additionally, San Jacinto College, Houston ISD and Alief ISD have also joined the effort, using their respective organizations’ 3D printers to provide additional face shield components.

Fort Bend County and The University of Houston at Sugar Land have brought other county stakeholders together to inventory the equipment, products and personnel they can provide to support the effort. In just a few days, they secured a donation of 5,000 face shields from Sean Mehta, CEO and founder of Luminess, the release stated.

HCC is encouraging anyone in the community who can assist with 3D printing to do so. H-Force is also in need of filament and 3D printing material supplies for those who can make donations. Drop-off locations are being established throughout the city to ensure community members have easy access to places to take their donations while also maintaining the social distancing requirements in place throughout the Greater Houston area.

For more information, visit www.thehforce.org.

By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.