Patrick Fontenot believes that computer literacy is important to each and every student, regardless of what career they choose. In fact, he says, everyone benefits from understanding and appreciating this rapidly changing field. “Technology is here to stay and it touches our lives daily in one way or another,” he says.
As the Dean of Workforce Education and Training, Pat leads a wide range of programs and services to students, businesses and community members. He provides strategic direction to his team of directors, coordinators, faculty and staff to ensure that the programs offered incorporate the latest technology and training. Pat and his team work closely with local employers, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to ensure that all of the technical programs at Northwest Vista College prepare graduates for high demand jobs and lead to employment opportunities in fields such as Information Security, Nanotechnology, Digital Media, 3D Animation, Advanced Water Treatment, Clinical Research and many others. Under Pat’s direction, the nearly 20 degree programs have continually improved student graduation and job placement rates.
Many local employers such as USAA and the Southwest Research Institute have additionally benefited from customized training for their employees in leadership, teambuilding, strategic planning and customer relations that Pat’s team provides as part of the Business Solutions program.
Pat believes that everyone deserves a satisfying life and that education is the way to achieve that. He feels that his current position has been the most satisfying because it impacts many lives and strengthens college partnerships with community organizations. In collaboration with other colleagues, Pat has been instrumental in working with the military to provide training for those in the service. He himself served in the United States Air Force for 20 years.
Having grown up speaking French in Southwest Louisiana, Pat understands the importance of language skills in the workforce and every day communication. He celebrates the success of students in the English as a Second Language program, offered as part of continuing education. Other community and personal leisure programs that Pat manages include kids programs, enrichment for seniors, healthcare fields, information technology, cooking and robotics education and training for elementary, middle and high school students.
Pat has been with Northwest Vista College for 12 years. He began as an instructor and has achieved increased leadership opportunities that included working as a program developer, program coordinator and academic leader for all Business and Computer disciplines. He also served as the Director of Information Technology and Communications for the college. Pat holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Arts Degree in Computer Resource Management from Webster University.
In his 12 years of service to Northwest Vista College, Pat is known for his simple and direct style that cuts through the chase. His advice to students is always the same: “Choose a career that will make you happy and that you will enjoy every day.”