McALLEN -- Increasing production, quality, performance and the bottom line was the objective of a South Texas College-led employer consortium meeting held at the McAllen Economic Development Corporation’s facilities at the end of March. A group of regional partners met with the goal of gaining support for the Credentials to Degrees Program that would provide employees with a career path for advancement in the region’s advanced manufacturing industry.

Eleven companies participated in the consortium meeting where they were presented with the proposed tuition reimbursement program that involved a cohort strategy that would increase employee engagement and performance.

“All of these companies already participate in training programs with the college and it makes sense to work in partnership to bring down costs and increase training all for the sake of improving quality and opportunity,” said STC Institute for Advanced Manufacturing Regional Manager Carlos Margo. “We hope to develop some truly innovative trainings that will benefit all participants.”

STC Executive Officer for the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative Wanda Garza gave an overview of the initiative, while Margo and STC’s Dean of Business and Technology Mario Reyna discussed the cohort strategy and gave recommendations for four programs of study.

“The best part is that the training programs offer participants the chance to earn certificate and those credits will apply toward associate of applied science degrees,” said Reyna. “When a person who didn’t have college credit is shown they are capable of the work and earned a credit, it can become addictive. We think that given the chance, these employees will excel in ways we never thought possible and their employers and our region will share in their success because they will become assets to growing our business community.” 

At the conclusion of the meeting, employers shared their respective tuition reimbursement programs and best practices.

“Each of these players at the meeting is an affiliate member of NAAMREI and have been leaders in workforce training for their employees,” explained Wanda Garza.”But as we continue our work to maintain the Rio South Texas Region’s status as the world leader in advanced manufacturing, we want to push them even further in their commitment to training because only through employee development will we continue to win big contracts and recruit new partner companies to our region.

“NAAMREI is an organization about teamwork and open communication,” concluded Garza. “This forum was another way for us to get employers talking openly and learning from each other. It was a great experience and we look forward to finding new ways to keep the dialogue going between all our consortium partners. These group trainings will benefit not just the employers, but our region as a whole.”