The San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) and Port San Antonio are launching a new training center to help connect displaced local workers with career opportunities. 

Port San Antonio is set to convert an old fitness center on its 1,900-acre campus into a new 27,000-square-foot training center. The facility will allow space for SAMSAT and workforce development partners to host a variety of training programs.

The training hub will provide a classroom setting where people can socially distance while learning as well as Wi-Fi and computers. Jobs in such industries as aerospace, IT, cybersecurity, and manufacturing will be promoted via workshops, and Port employers will offer work experience, on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships, said Adrian Lopez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo (WSA).

Programming is still being finalized, Lopez said, although he added some potential programs include IT network certification, administrative assistant training, and cybersecurity training. WSA, the governing board for the regional workforce system, is one of the local partners and will be leading a majority of the new hub’s training programs. 

“Port SA and SAMSAT are currently surveying employers and their training needs,” Lopez said. “The information will be utilized to determine what to offer at the center.”

Other partners of the new training hub are the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, the Alamo Colleges District, workforce development initiative Project Quest, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation’s workforce program SA Works. 

Doug King, president and CEO of SAMSAT, said as the operating entity of the new training hub, SAMSAT will be using approximately $225,000 of its annually allotted $500,000 toward the new training facility. The Port’s board of directors approved a $500,000 annual sponsorship package for SAMSAT last week.

Funding will also come from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County’s Strong Workforce Program. Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia (D4) said the City is providing federal funds from the coronavirus relief fund, but a specific amount is still being determined. This funding will be focused on supporting the various training programs delivered by the partners, she said.

“Certainly, we hope and expect that they will be part of the funding stream at Workforce Solutions Alamo,” said Port San Antonio CEO Jim Perschbach. “And of course, SAMSAT is a [nonprofit]. I’m sure if anybody wants to go to their website and click donate now, they’d be more than thrilled to accept that gift.”

The idea for the hub came from Perschbach several weeks ago, Lopez said, noting the Port moved quickly to find a space that could be home to the facility. Perschbach said the goal is to get the facility, which will be operated by the museum, open and running in the next several weeks.

The tech training center will be located near the proposed site for the Port’s planned 130,000-square-foot innovation center, which is still being designed, Perschbach said. 

“Our increasingly connected world is changing at an unprecedented pace – creating careers and other opportunities that simply did not exist even a few years ago,” Perschbach said in a prepared statement.

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Lindsey Carnett

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report.