It is an exciting time to be a part of a long-standing partnership between South Texas College and the City of McAllen as both entities work to promote careers of the future, according to McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.

Contributing to the training of companies is a game changer, Darling said as the city’s Development Corporation presented STC with a $259,440 job-training grant Dec. 6 to provide customized training related to advanced manufacturing for companies located within the city limits.

The funding period for the grant is from Oct. 1, 2018, to Sept. 30, 2019, and will include equipment, salaries, and supplies provided by STC’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) based at the college’s Technology Campus.

“As I listen to the various speakers talk about how critical this workforce development is to the economic future of our region, it makes me feel really good because this is why the institution was created,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “When you look back, the premise was so basic and so simple. If you are going to grow an economy and get people out of poverty, you need jobs. But how are you going to get jobs if you don’t have a skilled workforce?

“We need to put in place training opportunities and high-quality training so that we have the most competitive and best prepared workforce in the country which will attract companies to our region,” Dr. Reed said.

Speakers at the check presentation along with Dr. Reed and McAllen mayor Darling included STC board of trustees chairman Paul Rodriguez, operations manager for Regal Ken Shaffer, Grand Rapids Foam Technologies plant manager Dan Robinson, and McAllen EDC president and CEO Keith Patridge.

“People don’t realize all that it takes in manufacturing like certificates, trainings and everything else so we are proud to be a part of that, especially with something as meaningful as safety training,” Darling said. “There will be careers in the future that we still don’t even know what they are so it’s an exciting time to be here.

“We appreciate our partnership with South Texas College, which we have had since the very beginning,” Darling said. “It’s just a fantastic partnership and it’s a game changer for the city just like it was 25 years ago when we started.”

IAM at STC specializes in building a manufacturing workforce through quality-customized training, which involves over 300 courses at STC that have been tailored for the needs of local industry.

The strength of the college lies in modifying, customizing, or developing new courses that companies need in order to thrive in the region.

IAM works with various manufacturers in the Rio South Texas Region to improve financial performance, create higher efficiency and productivity, and obtain greater employee engagement and lower turnover.

“Some of the training is very specific to the employee such as learning additional skills, and we also do company-wide training to improve efficiencies and automation training,” said Dr. Carlos Margo, associate dean for the Office of Industry Training and Economic Development at STC. “It really spans a broad range of training, and that’s what these funds allow us to do.”