Finding work that can give someone the means to provide for themselves and their family can be difficult. In fact, it’s an issue for so many in San Antonio that residents voted in 2020 for a workforce initiative that would help them find easy access to professional training, education and quality careers.
The program -- Ready to Work -- was funded by a 1/8-cent sales tax that will be collected through December 2025, according to Mike Ramsey, the executive director of the City of San Antonio Workforce Development Office.
The $200 million program offers unemployed, underemployed and underrepresented residents the following benefits:
- Tuition for industry-recognized certifications, associate and bachelor’s degrees that are aligned with targeted occupations in high-demand and well-paid careers;
- Wraparound support services and emergency assistance to ensure training completion;
- Job placement and retention services.
“To date, Ready to Work has interviewed over 5,000 applicants and enrolled over 2,750 San Antonians into approved training courses aligned with well-paid jobs in high demand,” Ramsey said. “Three-hundred and twenty employers and counting have pledged to support Ready to Work, including anchor companies such as AT&T, Bank of America, CPS Energy, H-E-B, HoltCat, Methodist, Toyota, Spurs Sports and Entertainment, SAISD, Valero and USAA.”
Romanita Matta-Barrera, chief workforce officer for greater:SATX, the region’s lead economic development organization, said one cornerstone of Ready to Work is how it prioritizes employer engagement. Greater:SATX works closely with the program to support that alignment.
Barrera said the organization collaborates with employers across six of Ready to Work’s target industries -- healthcare/bioscience, construction/trades, information technology/cybersecurity, finance/insurance, advanced manufacturing/aerospace, and education -- to ensure employer feedback is heard, and that the training jobseekers are getting is preparing them for the specific roles employers are hiring for now.
“In San Antonio, manufacturing employees work with robotics and high technology to build everything from solar panels and planes to construction equipment and trucks,” Barrera said. “You can work for major companies like Toyota, Navistar, Boeing -- all who are hiring now.”
While most entry-level positions earn an average of $31,000 per year, those who stay in the manufacturing industry earn an average of $81,000 a year in San Antonio. Ready to Work strives to ensure that its program participants can start the pathway to a new career and can succeed once they get there.
For more information, visit ReadyToWorkSA.com.