SAN ANTONIO – Ready to Work is an educational and job placement program formed to help thousands of San Antonians improve their quality of life.
The program helps teach San Antonians new skills to get higher-paying jobs and nearly 4,000 people have signed up since it launched two months ago.
Recently, Ready to Work received an almost $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Mike Ramsey, the executive director of the program, joined Leading SA Sunday to talk about the progress of the program and what comes next.
“Ready to Work is an unprecedented education, the job placement program that we’re swinging for the fences on to create a new path forward and change the narrative. For a lot of people who have been underserved and underrepresented here in our community truly, and in an employer-led economic development and economic empowerment initiative. We have some phenomenal partners with over 200-plus players, local employers, leading the way,” Ramsey said.
The program aims to help San Antonians learn new skills and attain higher-paying jobs that can have generational impacts.
“Providing training pathways that lead to good paying jobs that our local employers want and need. We have partners that are committed to serving the people in this program with excellence such as Alamo Colleges, Workforce Solutions, Alamo,” Ramsey said.
With the almost $3 million grant from the Department of Labor, Ready to Work plans to expand the apprenticeship program.
“Apprenticeships are a phenomenal way to add skills to your population. There’s been an educational disconnect. You know, on one hand, you have young men and women that are not necessarily interested in finding a four-year degree. And it’s increasingly tough to find good jobs in our high-growth industry sectors without more technical and specialized skills. So on the other hand, you have companies in industries that complain that they can’t find enough workers to staff their expanding businesses. Or big part of this problem is that, you know, over the last 50 years or so, there’s been an overwhelming emphasis on college degrees versus skills,” Ramsey said.
The program is young, but already having an impact.
“The Ready to Work program launched about seven weeks ago. And now we had a phenomenal response with over 3,900 people getting in place and getting into that pipeline to get on track to that better job, that better career, so they can better take care of themselves and their family. We got to continue to get them serve. We’re going to continue to connect them with their career advisors to help them to develop that individualized plan that’s going to work for their family in their situation. I want to make sure that they’re aligned to our targeted occupational areas within our industry sectors that are experiencing growth,” Ramsey said.
It’s early on in the program, but it also serves as a sign to businesses across the world that San Antonio is preparing more and more workers for the future.
“We’re going to make sure that we recruit more employers to the table, starting our pledge in partnership with essay works and Greater SATX to ensure that more employers are at the table taking advantage of the talent being produced by this program. We’re embarking upon the talent pipeline management framework process with essay works, getting our finger on the pulse of what occupations are acquiring me that are most critical to them growing and expanding here in the Alamo City,” Ramsey said.