As the new ambassador for Midland College at the Williams Regional Technical Training Center in Fort Stockton, director George Tarpley wants ensure opportunities for credit and continuing education classes for rural West Texas students.
The WRTTC is a satellite campus of MC located in Fort Stockton.
It offers classes for associate degree, occupational and technical certificate programs, and GED preparation courses for rural West TX students.
Tarpley was hired by the WRTTC last December. Tarpley grew up in Abilene TX and graduated from Abilene High School in 1979.
He then attended Tarlton State University in Stevensville, TX. Tarpley graduated with a bachelor’s in agricultural education and a master’s of science in teaching.
Tarpley spent one year teaching vocational agriculture.
“I just knew that wasn’t my passion,” Tarpley said.
Tarpley was then hired by the Williams AgriLife County Extension office north of the Austin area.
Tarpley worked in a training position for four years. He was then hired as the agriculture program leader in Palo Pinto County in the Fort Worth area.
He worked there for five years before moving to Fort Stockton as the County Extension Specialist.
While at the Fort Stockton Extension, Tarpley worked on developing child education programs, managing and coordinating adult volunteer efforts to help extension agents with the educational programs.
Tarpley spent 21 years working in the Agrilife district six which encompasses 23 West Texas counties before retiring.
“I spent 21 years in that capacity, retired from theextension in July (2013) and then had the opportunity to go to work for Midland College in December,” Tarpley said.
Tarpley has worked with all levels of education in his various positions but this was his first time working for a college.
“I have been in education all of my life as a profession, but this is the first time I have actually been formally involved in the higher education side of things,” Tarpley said.
Before getting the director’s position at the WRTTC, Tarpley had accepted a job with Fort Stockton ISD as the agriculture teacher. The FSISD knew that Tarpley was looking at the position with WRTTC but its officials wanted him to work on their agriculture program for as long as he could. Tarpley spent seven weeks working for the FSISD.
Before leaving for the WRTTC, Tarpley was able to coordinate a replacement teacher for the FTISD agriculture program.
“It was a pretty seamless move from me leaving the high school and coming over here (WRTTC),”Tarpley said. “I was there one day and gone the next,” Tarpley said.
Tarpley plans to work closely with local businesses to find out what jobs are going to be in demand in the future. Then the WRTTC can work with the schools in the surrounding area to help students know what degrees would be good choicesto earn, in order to fill the positions in demand.
“I want to make sure we have the conversation far enough in advance that we understand what is coming and what we need to be preparing the work force,” Tarpley said.
Tarpley wants to present the WRTTC as a resource that is closer than the main MC campus for people who live in rural areas and who areinterested in pursuing higher education.
“Education is first and foremost a way for a society can build and address problems,” Tarpley said.
The emphasis of higher education for students at the WRTTC is multi-faceted.