Austin Community College celebrates new Tesla employee training program

A ribbon-cutting was held at Austin Community College Friday to celebrate new Tesla START manufacturing training facilities at the school’s Riverside campus.

The program's inaugural class started in August with new classes beginning every four to six weeks. Approximately 60 students are currently enrolled. The program provides students "with skills necessary for a successful career" with Tesla's automotive and manufacturing teams.

"Coming out of the military I do a lot of hands-on work so it was definitely a good step in the right direction of doing something I like to do." said START student Jacquan Parker.

"It’s a $20 billion part of our economy, as is. But the opportunity to have clean, advanced manufacturing in our city is critical. And crucial to our city, saving its soul, saving its people." said Austin Mayor Steve Adler touting the program as a solution to the city’s affordability crisis.

FOX 7 Austin requested salary information for START program graduates from Adler, who directed the outlet to ACC and Tesla. FOX 7 Austin requested the information from Tesla, they did not respond. ACC provided FOX 7 Austin with this statement:

"ACC cannot confirm salaries for Tesla employees, but we can share regional job information for similar positions. According to EMSI, manufacturing production technicians earn an average hourly wage of $31.86. This salary information is based on data analysis of traditional and real-time labor market information (LMI) provided in collaboration with labor market analytics firm, Emsi, a Strada company."

"Perhaps the better way to deal with affordability is about creating the right kinds of jobs.  It's creating those jobs where people can ladder up for themselves," said Adler. 

"The costs of the Tesla training facility at ACC Riverside Campus including the specialized training equipment were covered entirely by Tesla and through state grant dollars awarded to ACC and Tesla from the Texas Workforce Commission. These grant dollars also have supported the costs of tuition for many of the Tesla students to date," said an ACC spokesperson. 

Students are paid Tesla employees while they complete the program. After graduation they are eligible for full-time positions. 

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