Need for trade skills growing in Central Texas

By Sahar Chmais 

As the need for skilled production technicians grows, a nonprofit group is trying to fill the void.

Predictions estimate 15,000 skilled production employees will be needed over the next two years, according to Texas Workforce Solutions. 

Free Certified Production Technician (CPT) training is available in Central Texas to those who want to learn the trade through Skillpoint Alliance, a nonprofit organization. 

Classes last for six weeks, with an 82% employment rate, according to Skillpoint Alliance Executive Director, Kevin Brackmeyer. 

Central Texas has been a growing hub for manufacturing companies, such as Tesla, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Applied Materials and Athena Manufacturing. These companies are creating a growing need for skilled employees, Brackmeyer explained. 

Tesla has posted about 315 job positions, which include positions for CPT employees. 

But these are not the only places a CPT can go into after graduation; this training teaches a variety of skills that can be used across different types of manufacturing companies, Brackmeyer said. 

Students can learn how to use a 3D printer to create tools. They also work with CNC milling machines, work on soldering and use Virtual Reality for trial and error in a company. 

CPTs can expect a pay range of about $20 an hour at an entry level job, but many companies offer over time and opportunities for advancement, Brackmeyer told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. 

Classes at Skillpoint Alliance are available for Texas residents, ages 18 and older. To sign up for training, visit www.skillpointalliance.org. Other training opportunities, such as electrical and plumbing are also available. 

Once the application is submitted, an admissions coordinator will process it, moving on to a first screening then to a virtual or in-person interview. 

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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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