Writer: Liz Palmer
2 min read May 2022 — Decision-makers in the Greater San Antonio region understand there is no time to waste when it comes to developing the skilled workforce of the future. The Future Ready Plan, covering Bexar County, was released last week with over 80 local partners having committed to addressing educational inequity and preparing upcoming generations for success in postsecondary endeavors, no matter their socioeconomic status, bolstering the SA: Ready to Work initiative launched in March.
Future Ready’s primary goal is to approach 2030 with 70% of students graduating from Bexar County high schools enrolling in postsecondary educational opportunities. The public-private partnership will reach its target by sharing data among the region’s educational, nonprofit and governmental institutions to rethink existing processes, source necessary funding and promote changes that will close educational gaps.
One of the program’s partners is the Alamo Colleges District, which oversees five community colleges in the county with a key focus on accessible education. “We need to be able to connect with businesses and industry to be able to provide them with talent. That’s an ongoing conversation and I think that that challenge presents a lot of opportunities, both for higher education and for businesses,” Chancellor Mike Flores told Invest:, discussing higher education’s role in workforce preparation.
University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), a recognized Hispanic Serving Institution whose student population is 45% first-generation students, also sits as a partner for the program. On UTSA’s influence on the local economy, President Taylor Eighmy told Invest: that the university’s focus is always on steamrolling ahead economically while being intentional in ensuring everyone is brought along for the ride. “Education plays a critical role in that approach,” he said. “We’re all born with the same potential but are not afforded the same opportunities. Education addresses that inequity – it is the greatest equalizer there is. The local business community is united on our path and there’s an exciting, harmonious convergence taking place.”
Future Ready found additional partnerships in the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Girls on the Run and Boys & Girls Clubs of SA, as well as multiple Bexar County and COSA offices.
Great strides have been made in workforce development investments specific to San Antonio, as well. “For San Antonio, we were able to make catalytic investments into our workforce pipeline,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg told Invest:. “We have developed programs to make ourselves a talent factory for just about every emerging industry that will be leading our economies throughout the 21st century.”
SA: Ready to Work is one of those programs, being a taxpayer-funded project that aims to provide socioeconomic mobility through workforce training programming to city residents. It targets industries projected to continue experiencing high levels of growth in the future, such as healthcare, education, construction, energy, technology support and more through arranging tuition assistance, support and employment opportunities for qualifying participants. With the strategic backing of employers, educational institutions and local government, the program will address workforce needs as the region continues its rapid advancement while also working to address long-standing gaps in socioeconomic equity.
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