Nonprofit offers free classes to provide potential applicants for Tesla

Skillpoint Alliance, a nonprofit manufacturing certification school, is currently offering a free six-week training course to help students get jobs in manufacturing.

"We can take up to fifteen students at one time," said executive director Kevin Brackmeyer.

The second class this year for its Certified Production Technicians is about to start.

"I think when they get here, they really don't have a clear understanding of what the manufacturing world is all about. But once they once they finish our course and they walk through that door with their credentials and the certifications, they're like they're ready to go to work right out of the gate," said Brackmeyer.

The goal is to provide a path to places like the new Tesla Gigafactory. They provide hands-on training and can also move out of the classroom into virtual reality simulations. So far 55 students have received certifications in trade skills.

"We see our students become gainfully employed right out of the gate. We've had employers come in with offers in hand. They'll come to graduation. We actually we had a student in our most recent class have two offers before we even finish the course," said Brackmeyer.

Brain David, a new student, said the program is providing a chance to write a new chapter in his life "I was literally walking by a television set and saw the Skillpoint Alliance commercial come up. And I thought, that looks really interesting," said David.

That interest could lead him to a job working in the Gigafactory.

"As a student again. You know, I've been away from it for a long time, and it's been absolutely delightful coming back to it because, you know, when you're away from education for a long time, you start doubting your ability to come back and be attentive and to be able to take tests and do well with them. And it's actually been very satisfying to go through that process and not only enjoy it, but do well with it," said David.

Austin Community College is also helping people get plugged into Tesla. A load of high-tech robots for a 14-week training class arrived at ACC's Riverside campus back in August. Students selected are hired by Tesla. 

That program and others like Skillpoint which provide a tech foundation are pressed to provide enough candidates for a Tesla workforce that could exceed 5,000 jobs.

"There's a lot of opportunity there for them. And certainly that I think the message to everyone out there is just as you said, you know, college isn't for everyone. These are opportunities for students who may not want to go to college to hop into a pathway that has just tremendous upward potential," said Brackmeyer.

Skillpoint Alliance is able to provide free classes because it’s funded through a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Governor's office. To keep students who have children enrolled, Skillpoint provides information to community agencies that can help students with child care during classes.

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