Possible industrial training center coming to Waco area

An industrial training center supported by TSTC and area businesses could help with labor gaps in the Waco area.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 1:30 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A new industrial training center could be coming to the Waco area, and it could help fill a labor gap some businesses are seeing.

In a recent presentation to Waco City Council, the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce estimates there are, or will be, thousands of new jobs in the area, and about half of them will require some type of advanced training. Those jobs are either directly or indirectly a result of the more than two dozen businesses who have moved to the area in recent years, or announced expansions.

An industrial training center could fill that need, supported by Texas State Technical College and other businesses and organizations. TSTC assistant provost Jerome Mendias said this is something that has been in the works for a while, initially started by local industrial businesses. Mendias said TSTC was approached to invest in the effort with their workforce training.

The center would focus on training in the industrial fields, like maintenance, electrical, motor controls, program logic controllers--areas where there is a need in Central Texas.

“It has continued to grow, especially with the investments that we’ve seen here in McLennan County, the investments that we’ve seen in surrounding counties,” Mendias said. “We’re starting to see the growth, it’s one that just has not stopped.”

Mendias said the training center would provide opportunities to help people move into higher paying jobs or even just get a job.

“We’ll have individuals that have skill, but they need to go ahead and provide just a little bit more to continue through with their companies, organizations,” Mendias said. “So this training center will provide that.”

The groups behind the center are still working to secure funding. They have presented to Waco City Council and the McLennan County Commissioner’s Court about the possibility of sharing the cost, which is estimated to be $23 million. According to a Waco City Council agenda, the city would contribute $1 million down, with financing for $10 million over the next 15-20 years.

In the meantime, TSTC is partnering with Region 12 to launch a pilot training program. If anyone is interested, they can contact TSTC’s Workforce Development.

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