The aviation industry here in San Antonio has now created a direct path to high-skilled jobs straight out of high school.
With an increase in aviation manufacturing at Kelly Field, there is a need for skilled workers to work on aircraft. To make matters worse, there are a number of retirees leaving the local workforce in the industry.
To ensure there is no shortage of qualified workers, Port San Antonio has given St. Philip's College a 40,000-square-foot building on 30 acres to expand the school's technical college.
In return, the college provides a workforce tailored to the aviation workforce needs.
“Rather than us paying them in money, we're going to be paying them in producing more skilled workers,“ said Bruce Leslie, chancellor of the Alamo College District.
Students can start the program in the 11th grade by taking college courses that will apply to a two-year technical degree. In that time, they may also get an internship with a company like Boeing or Lockheed to get a better idea of what type of skill set they might need.
Eric Lazono is the model example of the success of the program.
“The program was great. It provided a good opportunity for me while I was going through high school," Lazono said. "I got an opportunity to go to St. Philip's and complete some college courses, and then after graduating from high school was offered a position as an intern with Boeing. So it worked out very well for me and my family.”
It’s a win-win in that a student gets a direct path to a job after completing the program, and businesses throughout the area get students ready to work with skills they need.
St. Philip's officials said they have a 98 percent job placement for their students that go through the program.