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Early support seen for new Brazos County, Texas college district

Officials with the Brazos Talent Initiative, a committee formed through the Research Valley Partnership, report they are “overwhelmed by the community response” after gathering signatures of registered voters at general election polling sites November 8. The petition calls for an election for the citizens of Brazos County to form a new community college district.

“It’s too soon to get a signature count since we don’t have all of the petitions back, but it’s easily several thousand,” said steering committee co-chairman Ivan Olson. “We’re counting them now and will continue through the next few days.”
Olson emphasized again that committee members are exploring all viable options in their quest to meet the workforce development needs of Brazos County, including partnering with Blinn College.

“Our one and only goal has always been to fill the opportunity gap that exists in Brazos County,” Olson said. “Developing a new community college district would put the future of the county’s self-governance of taxes and resources in the hands of county students and residents, but we’re open to a viable and reasonable proposal by Blinn.”

The next step in the process, once the committee gets the appropriate percentage of registered voters, is to verify the signatures through voter registration rolls, and then forward them to the county for certification. Once certified, the petition gives authority to the Brazos County Commissioners Court to call an election. The committee will then present the petition to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) at its January 2017 meeting to formally notify the board of its intent to create the new district.

About The Research Valley Partnership

The Research Valley Partnership is a public-private economic development corporation serving the citizens of Brazos County, Texas. The Partnership pursues economic growth in the county without regard to jurisdiction through its programs, services and initiatives to help launch, grow and locate companies in Brazos County.

About the Talent Pipeline Initiative Steering Committee

In June of 2016, the Research Valley Partnership formed the Talent Pipeline Steering Committee in response to unmet demand in Brazos County and the greater Research Valley, recognizing lack of talent will inhibit economic growth fundamental to the Partnership’s mission. The Steering Committee has broad-based, community-wide representation. Mr. Andrew Nelson and Mr. Ivan Olson serve as co-chairs of the Steering Committee and Mr. Bobby Gutierrez serves as secretary.