Each year, communities across the country celebrate Manufacturing Month as local companies and educational institutions showcase modern manufacturing in action to students, parents, and community leaders.
More than 51,000 San Antonians work for companies spanning every major sector, including automotive, aerospace, food and beverage, plastics, and machinery. The manufacturing industry in San Antonio is diverse and growing. Manufacturing has been an active economic sector in San Antonio for more than 300 years, making and distributing innovative products and turning to the local skilled workforce to accommodate growth.
To help support the industry’s growth, SA WORX, the workforce development team within greater:SATX, connects employers with the skilled, talented people they need. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted employers’ needs and educational institutions’ priorities. During the past 18 months, SA WORX has monitored the effect of the pandemic on the greater San Antonio workforce and published its most recent findings in the Q3 Jobs Report.
SA WORX’s role is to help others navigate workforce development. The organization meets directly with employers, workforce agencies, and educators to fully understand local hiring needs, the skills needed to fill them, and the programs necessary to gain those skills. They also help job-seekers better understand the realities of a given workplace — specifically the education and training requirements — to ensure they are ready for in-demand careers that can provide economic mobility for themselves and generations to come. The greater San Antonio region demonstrates its support of workforce development with its unprecedented investment in programs such as Pre-K 4 SA, the P-Tech and CAST schools, TX FAME, and Alamo Promise.
The Q3 Jobs Report shows manufacturing in the greater San Antonio region is an example of the strength of economic diversity in action: automotive, commercial food, and aerospace manufacturing all continued to grow during the pandemic, sustaining supply chains and having other direct and indirect impacts on other businesses. However, the data does not tell the whole story. Local manufacturers are growing and need to fill open positions now, giving SA WORX and its partners the welcome challenge of identifying the in-demand roles and skills within the local industry, connecting employers and educators, and strategically growing the local workforce to meet that demand.
Companies like Navistar are hiring and currently accepting applications for hundreds of positions to support its new South San Antonio truck manufacturing facility and engineering center. Toyota continues to grow and invest in the region, and new companies like Tesla are adding to the regional manufacturing cluster.
San Antonio will continue to invest in its biggest asset: its people. With upcoming programs like SA: Ready to Work, economic mobility is within reach and makes San Antonio and the greater region a competitor in bringing in new businesses, which means job growth. SA: Ready to Work will begin the intake process in January, redirecting funds to re-skill and upskill residents across San Antonio.
In addition to connecting San Antonians to these careers, SA WORX is elevating awareness around career pathways in manufacturing through efforts such as its educational event series, Mind the Gap. This virtual series of panel discussions focuses on topics related to bridging the manufacturing skills gap in the greater San Antonio region.
The most recent Mind the Gap event focused on building job-seeker confidence through training. The panel highlighted available paid training and upskilling opportunities and included representatives from the City of San Antonio Workforce Development Office, Workforce Solutions Alamo, Restore Education, and a Train for Jobs SA trainee participant who offered insights into the job-seeker experience.
Each conversation uncovers key insights such as this: The City of San Antonio is the only municipality in the nation that has invested direct federal dollars into workforce recovery. Now, 18 months after the height of the pandemic, San Antonio has remained fairly stable without experiencing the significant job losses of other cities because of its diverse economic sectors.
Please join SA WORX and greater:SATX for the next Mind the Gap discussion, Made in SATX: Manufacturing Made Better, on Oct. 21, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. More details and registration can be found at www.greatersatx.com/events/mindthegap.