Local organization hopes graduates will help fill Tesla, Samsung jobs

Major manufacturing companies are planting roots in Central Texas, which means thousands of skilled workers are projected to be needed.

A local nonprofit organization is helping to fill that need.

"I was being released from a job that I was at for 16 years in the computer industry," said Ruben Dees, a Skillpoint Alliance student. "Thought that it was best if I went into something that I really enjoyed, and I love building stuff with my hands."

Dees and his classmates will graduate Friday as certified production technicians through the Manufacturing Technician Program offered at Skillpoint Alliance.

According to data from Texas Workforce Solutions, as of October 2021 there were 3,596 open manufacturing jobs in the Austin area. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric car maker would move its headquarters from Palo Alto to Austin.

Despite jobs being available, many sectors are struggling to find skilled workers to fill specialized roles.

"Demand is way up and supply is still where it was before," said Justin Frost, an instructor for the Manufacturing Technician Program.

In a way, that’s good news for Frost and his students.

"Everyone is really excited to get into these big industries– Samsung, Tesla, the big players– but there are hundreds of companies in the Austin region that are needing people, and they’re all fighting for the same skill sets here too," said Frost. "By the end of the course, students are really ready to get into a factory and hit the ground running." 

The courses offered at Skillpoint Alliance are completely free and just six-weeks long. Along with the Manufacturing Technician Program, the organization offers training courses for HVAC operation, electrical and plumbing.

The next Manufacturing Technician class starts Jan. 31. More information can be found here

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