SAISD partnering with Alamo Colleges, UTSA for student construction science and management program

West Side education pipeline growing; helps fill workforce gap

Sydney Lanier High School is getting more attention from higher education systems including the Alamo Colleges District and UTSA to create a stronger future for students.
Sydney Lanier High School is getting more attention from higher education systems including the Alamo Colleges District and UTSA to create a stronger future for students.

SAN ANTONIO – Sydney Lanier High School is getting more attention from higher education systems including the Alamo Colleges District and UTSA to create a stronger future for students.

For the past two years, high schoolers like Hector Martínez have been earning credits towards an associates degree as part of the Construction Science P-Tech Program.

“I came to school for this program,” Martínez said. “I love it so much. I’m proud to say that I’m in the construction program, and I think this program is helping me and many others.”

The Lanier High School senior has been taking courses to earn college credit, industry recognized certifications and get hands-on experience in construction science management, a trade with high-wage and high-demand in San Antonio and across Texas.

“We work with Habitat for Humanity and build the wall frames that they make for the houses,” Martínez said. “I know underclassmen are working on building little libraries for the community.”

The best part, according to Martínez, is the strong advantage he already has when applying for jobs in the workforce.

“I have been going to class to get the OSHA 30 certification. There are also the anchor certification,” Martínez said. “Jobs will see that you have these certifications and pick you over someone who’s just straight out of high school.”

The P-Tech Program is integrated to their curriculum, allowing students to remain on-campus when they take their college level courses with St. Philip’s College.

“I think it’s amazing because of the relationship we have with the teacher,” Martínez said. “We have such a close connection with them and it just makes the process so much easier (to get a) higher level education.”

Beginning in the fall of 2021, UTSA will also join forces to provide a pathway for students interested in a bachelor’s degree.

“UTSA is is focused on access and opportunity, and we know that there is still work to be done around the San Antonio community,” Abel Gonzales, director of instructional outreach programs for UTSA’s College of Education and Human Development said.

The purpose of the program is to help fill the gap in the workforce, according to Donlee Wilson. Wilson is the department chair at Allied Construction Trades with St Philip’s College.

“This is a driving force to encourage those students (that they) don’t have to just settle for that minimum wage job, (and remind them that) we’ve got programs that can help you,” Wilson said. “This gives those students those opportunities to gain that knowledge and those skills early on.”

Skills that provide a strong career pathway, according to Gonzales.

“If you look around just the downtown part of our city, there’s construction everywhere you go,” Gonzales said. “Our program focuses on building the next construction science management professional who will be leading a group or a team at a construction project or construction site.”

Students interested in the program can still register. For more information, click here.

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About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.