A multilevel partnership has formed to help expand the technical course offerings at Wharton County Junior College and Texas State Technical College in Richmond and establish a TSTC campus.

"TSTC is truly busting at the seams both from student growth and industry demands, and they have nowhere left to go," said Roger Adamson, president and CEO of the George Foundation. "The need for a full-scale campus is apparent now, and planning for it is important."

The George Foundation, along with the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation and several other community partners, have been working with public officials and the TSTC and WCJC systems to identify the needs for these programs.

"The first thing we did was commission an economic firm to study the region and confirm with data the intuitive thought we had about the need for expanded technology training," TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser said. "That study confirmed there was a strong demand for a workforce supply chain in the region."

TSTC courses focus on certificate and degree programs designed to meet industry needs throughout the Gulf Coast.

"Every student should go to a four-year university or college if they can, but a lot [of students] don't," said Bill Jameson, president of WJ Interests and board member with the George Foundation. "They are out there kind of lost. This can help them be found."

The facility is expected to cost an estimated $27.3 million—$18.3 million for construction of the 80,000–100,000-square-foot building on a minimum of 40–50 acres, $5.8 million for equipment and $3.2 million for land acquisition. The foundations are looking for public and private donations to help advance the project, Jameson said.

"We are in the process right now of gathering community support," he said. "Our goal is to raise $8 million from the community, both public and private. If we can raise the $8 million from the community, the organizations are committed to fund the rest."

TSTC is slated to begin construction of the new campus in late 2015, ideally on a 40–50 acre site along Hwy. 59 west of Sugar Land, Jameson said.

"We want high visibility for this campus," he said.

The Fort Bend Technical Center, where TSTC and WCJC operate at 5333 FM 1640, offers a handful of early college offerings. Last fall, however, the two entities entered into an agreement to provide complimentary college courses for area students. In addition, the agreement is expected to add dozens of courses over the next several years, Reeser said.

"I have been overseeing the partnership that we have with the junior college for the past 10-13 years," said Elton Stuckly, president of TSTC in Waco. "We have had a great relationship. With the help from [our partners] this past fall, we were able to come to a 75-year agreement to partner with Wharton County Junior College to offer some of the programs they are not offering."