SA Worx is putting in the work to ensure that Bexar County student’s are career ready
SA Worx, the workforce development arm of the economic development organization greater:SATX, works to ensure San Antonio is the top choice for employers and community members to fulfill the employment needs of local and regional companies. They work with various community partners to create a sustainable and scalable employee talent base.
SA Worx’s ultimate goal, as explained by Romanita Matta-Barrera, Chief Workforce Officer, is to give students in Bexar County and surrounding communities first-hand, real-life, work experience that will prepare for whatever training or career path they choose and keep that pool of employees in our community.
The importance of this work is “the backbone of economic development in our area,” says Matta-Barrera. “Working with community partners toward a unified strategy will create systematic change in our workforce and economic sphere in our region.”
2022 was a big year for SA Worx, according to Matta-Barrera, with the organization working on marquee projects like priority digital badging and securing partnerships with industry leaders such as Accenture, the Dee Howard Foundation, Delta Systems, H-E-B, Navistar, the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) and USAA.
In conjunction with Ignite Mindshift, the organization worked with a total of 130 students in Highlands High School and CAST Lead within East Central ISD, to provide 95 digital badges on topics such as identity and personal brand and communicating with confidence.
These experiences led to positive outcomes for students, SA Worx told UP Partnership.
One student, who suffers from extreme anxiety, felt she could find a way to control her anxiety in the future and was moved by the experience and a hearing impaired student spoke about how he would not let his hearing impairment hold him back, Matta-Barrera shared.
Furthermore, many students, who were struggling in math, reported they had an action plan to review and complete missing assignments and/or seek out tutoring on the subject.
Through their community partnerships, the organization is able to offer summer internships in a range of positions, in companies from various industries and sectors. Last year, the program had 116 participants interning at 19 employer partners across the community. Going into this summer, they hope to engage 250 students, having already secured more than 60 opportunities at companies like Methodist Healthcare Ministries, USAA and Southwest Research Institute.
The lessons and impact of those internships goes beyond the student participants to include those professionals who supervise the work being done. Created by the students, Supervisor Awards are given to those leaders whose guidance truly impacted the lives of those they oversaw.
This summer, the organization will also work with fellow Future Ready partner, Communities In Schools San Antonio, to address the barriers to internships opportunity youth face such as transportation, clothing, and food. They will also work with students to offer feedback to companies about how to improve their job descriptions to appeal to young people in the community.
In addition, SA Worx continued their fundamental programs and events throughout last year:
• Alamo Fellows, a program that works with first-generation college students to gain skills for postsecondary success, was launched.
• In March, 706 students from both Highlands High School and East Central High School partook in the annual Job Shadow Day.
• More than 700 students participated in Manufacturing Month events in October.
• Over 500 students took part in the first ever Cyber Security Career Awareness Week also in October.
In 2022, SA Worx was able to secure funding from the Siemens Foundation, through the Education Strategy Group, with the intent of launching a program that would allow Bexar County students to develop social capital with adult professionals. After receiving feedback from young people, the program pivoted to a mentorship program whose mentors will be closer in age to mentees.
SA Worx is a key partner of UP Partnership’s Future Ready Bexar County plan. With the support of Blue Meridian Partners, UP was able to invest in scaling SA Worx’s success through funding and community partnerships.
To learn more about SA Worx, please visit their website here.
If your organization is ready to join in on the Future Ready movement, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more information on how you can become a Future Ready partner, or donate to the work here.
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