Tesla grand opening brings opportunity to Del Valle community

Work crews Thursday morning finished setting the stage for the grand opening celebration of the new Tesla Gigafactory in Del Valle.

A "cyber-rodeo-giga Texas" is what Tesla owner Elon Musk posted early Thursday morning. While the doors open to guests at 4 p.m., Musk posted on social media that festivities will actually start at 8 p.m., and he will give a speech around 9 p.m. 

For Travis County leaders, this private invitation-only event for up to 15,000 people is not about expensive electric cars rolling off an assembly line. 

"You will see the opportunity for different programs that maybe we couldn't afford in that area before. It's just going to be, I think, an incredible opportunity to build," said Commissioner Jeff Travillion.

Travillion represents the part of southeast Travis County where the Tesla plant is located. He explained how the incentive package the county used to convince Musk to move here is not a giveaway.

"We think the wise step that the Commissioners Court took was they made it a reimbursement tax contract, meaning, we started out, or Tesla started out, working with a contract and when that contract is fulfilled, then the taxes will be rebated. So, we will only see the tax dollars go out when we see all of the things that we agreed to happen," said Travillion. 

Tesla has committed to create at least 5,000 jobs, with the first 3,000 being semi-skilled jobs that do not require a college degree. That’s why, with this deal, local school districts are considered to be the big winner.

"It brings a lot of opportunities for students," said Del Valle ISD communications director Christopher Weddle.

The opportunities Weddle explained mean enhancing programs that are already providing a workforce for Tesla, classes like robotics and health care. A job-fair for students is set for later this month.

"Tesla will be coming in and doing a resume building session with our students and then April 21st, they'll have interviews specifically for Del Valle High School. Students with the opportunity to be employed at Tesla potentially have some internship opportunities. And it also ties in with ACC training program that they can get the training they need to go work at Tesla," said Weddle.

This fall Del Valle ISD will also launch a new career track. Students who complete the program not only graduate with a high school diploma, they will also earn a college associates degree.

Commissioner Travillion anticipates even more opportunities.

"We want to see partnerships and things like afterschool programs. We want our kids to be able to use their schools as community centers to stay there every day from three to seven, to do their homework there, to get a third meal there, to be a part of the community and to grow and the folks that will be working on the next generation of technology. So it is very exciting, and we're happy to have Tesla as a partner. And we just have to continue to work and identify the things that we need on both sides of the ledger and work together as partners."

Tune in to FOX 7 Austin for the latest Central Texas news

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