Bexar County Strong Workforce Program
Residents in unincorporated Bexar County and 26 suburban cities (e.g., Leon Valley, Kirby, Somerset), will be able to apply for workforce training assistance or be connected to jobs and work experience opportunities through the Bexar County Strong Workforce Program.
Residents can check their eligibility by calling 210-224-HELP (4357) if they do not have access to the internet.
Employers looking for assistance to fill jobs and work experience opportunities can reach out to SA Works at 210-226-1394 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Building a Skilled Workforce
The Bexar County Economic and Community Development Department (BCECD) is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities and building the workforce of the future. We partner with many organization and businesses locally to do this. The community began expanding its focus on our main industries’ middle skills gaps in 2015, after co-hosting a Workforce Summit with the City of San Antonio.
Since then, we have created and implemented of industry-led SA Works, now part of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, leading to further alignment of economic and workforce development; creation and implementation of industry-led Texas Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (TX FAME) to solve skills gaps in the manufacturing industry; and increased collaboration of community partners with economic and workforce development agencies to help industry solve workforce issues.
On May 2018, we co-hosted a follow-up Workforce Summit with the City of San Antonio and SA Works to highlight these initiatives and also hosted the 5th annual National FAME Conference.
By meeting with local manufacturers, we identified a significant skill deficit of people who can troubleshoot, maintain, and manage robotic and automated systems (robot technicians) at plants. With this input, we formed the Texas Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (TX FAME).
TX FAME is an industry-led organization based on a successful model out of Kentucky. The board members are seasoned professionals from leading companies in the manufacturing field. Together, they work to address shared skills deficits, recruits and train individuals to fill the pipeline. Companies involved to date are Toyota Texas, CPS Energy, H-E-B, Precision Group, Caterpillar, Joyson Safety Systems, and Toyotetsu Texas.
The companies sponsor students through a two-year associate’s degree program, where students spend two days a week in the classroom and three days a week as paid interns with their sponsor company. Students are paid a livable wage while they are learning and gaining real-world experience.
For more information on TX FAME, please visit: TX FAME.
Piloting New Initiatives
With these TX FAME companies, Bexar County worked to expand an existing training program at St. Philip’s College Southwest Campus called, the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) Program, which focuses on robotic and automated systems.
While the AMT program helps our industry partners solve their robot technician deficit in the mid-term, we led a pilot program in partnership with Brooks Development Authority to assess individuals from various backgrounds in their aptitude for mechanical skills.
Participants in the pilot program included individuals who have previously been through the judicial system, including probation and pre-trial diversion programs (PDF). Industry partners also worked to identify existing incumbent workers eligible for assessment. With lessons learned from the pilot program, we are working with TX FAME to expand and scale these short-term training solutions.
For more information on BCECD Workforce Development initiatives, please contact 210-335-WORK (9675) or email info@TXFAME.com.