A Frank Phillips Forecast

Weather forecasters always seem to receive criticism when the forecast predicted does not occur.  We make many decisions based on the weather forecast.  What clothes to wear.  Travel plans.  Farming decisions.  The list of weather-related decisions is lengthy.

Community colleges also rely on forecasts.   Forecasting enrollment is a significant factor in a college budget and can often be difficult to predict.   Another factor is state appropriations.  Every other year, community colleges try to forecast how much funding will be received from the Texas legislature. 

Historically, legislative appropriations for community colleges have not kept pace with inflation. Using the year 2000 as a base, community college funding for 2022-23 was approximately $272 million below what was received in 2000, while enrollments have doubled at most institutions.   However, there is a glimmer of hope for the future as recommendations have been made for changes in funding.  The forecast: partly sunny, with optimism that the legislature will not rain on the community college funding parade.

It is no secret that the FPC welding program is extremely successful.  The program has experienced sizeable growth due to its success.  The college is forecasting continued growth and is in the process of expanding facilities to accommodate the demand.

There has been much demand in the Texas panhandle for experienced truck and bus drivers.  Last year, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) program began at the FPC Dalhart and Perryton campuses.  This year, FPC forecasts the CDL program will begin in Borger.  A truck has been acquired for the program and the college anticipates logistics will be resolved to allow the program to start in late spring.

Area farmers and other businesses are dependent on well trained mechanics who can repair and maintain critical equipment in a timely manner.  To meet this need, FPC will begin a diesel mechanics program.  The program will begin at the FPC – Allen campus in Perryton.

One of the fastest growing activities in colleges and high schools is called eSports.  If one is not familiar with eSports (short for electronic sports), think of video games played by teams against other teams over the internet.  The National Junior College Activities Association has even recognized eSports.  The forecast is for FPC to begin an eSports program in the fall comprised of traditional and dual credit students.  

Some city governments have partnered with educational institutions which have construction programs to improve their communities.  This is done by the city acquiring blighted or vacant property and allowing the educational institution to remodel or build a new house on the property.  The result is the city owning a new house to sell by auction, therefore, reimbursing the city for any costs of acquiring the property and the materials in building the house.  The students acquire experience and college credit.  Although FPC does not have a construction program, the Borger ISD does.  The forecast is for a partnership between the Borger ISD, FPC and the City of Borger to improve our community by building a new house each year.

FPC will celebrate its 75th year of existence in the fall.  Many anniversary activities are being planned in the fall and throughout the year.  The forecast reflects a bright future for FPC built on its successes of the past, its relationships with community partners, and its commitment to provide quality educational opportunities to area citizens.

So, what is the overall college forecast for the upcoming year:  mostly sunny, occasional showers, mild temperatures, and light winds.

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Dr. Glendon Forgey