To help skilled workers lacking higher education obtain specialized certification, the U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded San Antonio a $2 million grant as one of 23 recipients of America’s Promise Job Driven Grant program.
The initiative is designed to address gaps in the national workforce. Despite over half a decade of strong private-sector job growth, “many Americans still do not feel the benefit of this growing economy in their own lives,” the grant prospectus states.
With over one million current openings in the professional and business services sector and the fields of education and health services combined, and statistics suggest that the nation will need many more “middle skill” staffers by 2020 — not necessarily with college degrees, but with tangible skill sets.
Hence, America's Promise grant program focuses on regional workforce initiatives, aiming to fortify the pipeline of skilled workers and help expand an economic region's middle- to high- skilled workforce in certain fields. In the San Antonio zone, Alamo Colleges and the city’s Chamber of Commerce will collaborate in a regional partnership.
“This partnership … will allow the Alamo Colleges … to fulfill our mission of ‘empowering our diverse communities for success,’” Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie said.
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Richard Perez also praised the program, voicing “the importance of providing clearer pathways for individuals to have access to careers in those prominent industries in our region.”
“This partnership with the Alamo Colleges; SA Works; and community based organizations like Project Quest, Goodwill, and Workforce Solutions Alamo is hugely important to ensuring we successfully train and retain the talent we need to be a globally competitive city,” Perez said.