Houston Community College rolls out free programs to help those impacted by COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Community College is getting ready to roll out a couple new programs to help people impacted by the pandemic.

In a little more than a week, HCC will start a new program to help people get into a field that's growing due to the pandemic.

"The job growth for this is at least 8% for the next 10 years, and because of COVID-19 and working remotely, there's a huge need for that kind of work right now," HCC continuing education for IT program director Samir Saber explained.

It's a four-week course to become a computer support specialist technician, but what's even better, the course is free.

If you've lived in Harris County since March, been impacted by the pandemic and meet the financial qualifications, the program won't cost anything.

To register, contact mozhgan.amini@hccs.edu, dit.ce@hccs.edu or call 713-718-8841.

"The students will get a career fair, orientation, coaching and all that," Saber said. "They will be trained, and hopefully, placed soon."

HCC is also about to roll out a new program to help parents. Its teamed with Goodwill to offer free school, books, job placement help, and even childcare.

To register or for more details, contact Cameron Brooks at cbrooks@goodwillhouston.org or call 281-755-1298.

"It's important to get our community back on its feet," HCC computer science networking department chair Fidelis Ngang said. "We all went through a tough time, and Houston Community College is exactly what the title is - community college."

If you don't qualify, but want a job quickly, there's a school outside of Fort Worth that's training students to get into the air conditioning industry in a matter of weeks.

"The thing about air conditioning is it's an essential service, so you're always going to continue working," Perfect Technician Academy provost Thomas Moorman said. "There's always going to be a need for it."

Perfect Technician Academy trains its HVAC techs in less than two months. Housing and tuition costs about $17,000, but Workforce Solutions offers a $6,000 scholarship that helps students with tuition.

"You could take a novice that doesn't know much about air conditioning at all, or nothing at all, and our goal is to give them enough knowledge that they can operate a service truck for a contractor independently," Moorman explained.

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