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Seeing Opportunity In Manufacturing, Education Program Guarantees Graduates A Job

During a town hall meeting last year, the San Antonio Manufacturers Association discovered that local employers are in need of workers with technical skills.

Employers reported that more than 2,500 jobs go unfilled, so they turned to the Alamo Colleges, who are teaming up with Workforce Solutions in partnership with the San Antonio Manufacturers Association for the "Just in Time" program. Students participate in a 90-day class, with 30 days of on the job training.

Upon successful completion of the program, students are guaranteed employment. Vice Chancellor for Economic and Workforce Development for Alamo Colleges Dr. Federico Zaragoza said the program began from an idea sparked by AT&T.

“As we trained individuals from the U-Verse position, and they gave us the specifications that they needed to be able to hire individuals, so we trained to those specifications with very, very high success rates,” said Zaragoza.

The program trains workers for specific high-paying jobs, which Zaragoza said makes the program extremely desirable and unique. He said there is a greater demand for workers than what’s being supplied currently.

"We're not even scratching the surface at this point,” Zaragoza said. “They not only said that they needed more employees, they needed skilled employees. And that's been the issue, the gap. And our model addresses the needs that provide individuals that have the skills needed by employers."

"The biggest benefit, I think, is that we're going to have folks able to right away get information on how they can get directly into the job pipeline,” said District 7 Councilman Cris Medina, who knows the full city council will be behind the program.

Zaragoza says 18 students are currently enrolled, and another round of classes will begin in a month.