East Texas Advanced Manufacturing Academy, now in its second semester in Longview, held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon-cutting and tours Friday.

The academy educates area high school junior and seniors for professional careers in machine operating, manufacturing and programming. The students are offered dual-credit courses in precision machining through Texas State Technical College and instrumentation and electrical technology through Kilgore College.

Richard Manley, chairman of the board for the Longview Chamber of Commerce, said in a written statement that the academy fills a need in East Texas for manufacturing skills.

β€œThe students graduating from the academy will be qualified for good-paying jobs that will enable them to live a good life in our community,” Manley said.

Partnerships involving local school districts, colleges and universities, about 15 private companies, the city of Longview, the chamber and the Longview Economic Development Corp. β€” which fronted more than $1 million β€” came together to open the academy last summer in a former auto dealership on South Street.