SAN ANTONIO – Alamo Academies' newest course in heavy equipment seeks to solve an unusual predicament area business are in: too many jobs and not enough qualified people.
"We simply have more job openings for skilled technician positions than the marketplace can bear," said Peter J. Holt, vice president of commercial engine sales at Holt Cat. "The pipeline simply isn't there for us to have motivated, skilled workers to fill our job positions."
Alamo Academies is a partnership between Alamo Colleges, area school districts, area businesses and the city that creates that pipeline, training students for current and future jobs.
Miguel Bello, a senior at East Central High School, signed on for the inaugural class because he wants to be a mechanic like his dad.
"After I heard an announcement at school, I got more interested because it's heavy duty and big names like Holt Cat," Bello said.
Other "big names" supporting the Heavy Equipment Academy include John Deere, Zachry Construction, Martin Marietta Materials, CMC Steel, Union Pacific and Waste Management.
Alamo Academies works with 25 school district to recruit students who are driven to the campus every day for class. The students earn their high school diplomas and college credit.
Come summer, the participating businesses provide paid internships for the students.
Mayor Ivy Taylor applauded the program, saying it fits with her focus of business retention.
"I call this local growth; new jobs and dollars resulting from businesses and people who already call San Antonio home," she said. "We don't have to win them over. They're already here."