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Aerospace & Manufacturing Industries Still Have Jobs To Fill

Business and education leaders met this week about guiding more workers into the aerospace and manufacturing pipeline because there still are not enough workers to fill jobs available in San Antonio.

The meeting offered local aerospace and manufacturing business leaders the chance to speak with school districts and the Alamo Colleges about several pressing items:

  • What they need in employees
  • The number of students available to feed aerospace and manufacturing demands
  • Ramping up the education process

Richard Perez, president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, said the business community and schools are collaborating to coordinate the education with what’s needed on the flight line and in manufacturing facilities.
"Advanced robotics, for example. Those are the kind of clear examples that the business community can tell the Alamo Community Colleges they need, and this is really where the beauty is. Community colleges have gotten it right, they have figured it out and understand very clearly that they are the entry point to a certain population," Perez said. 

Veronica Garcia, HR Director for Higuchi Manufacturing, which makes seat belts, said she had a hard time finding qualified people to hire until she connected with students at Alamo Academies, a training program for high school juniors and seniors to help get them into high-wage, in-demand occupations.

"I came to one of the initial orientations for all the new students, and you know what? They just took me by surprise, and right off the bat I hired three - same day," Garcia said.

Now that the academies have developed a model on which to build, they are planning to ramp up the effort with a Rackspace-style program starting in June to continue to build a labor force that will feed the growing manufacturing and aerospace demand for talent in San Antonio.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.