(WACO) – Leaders from Texas State Technical College, the Texas Workforce Commission and Manitou Group gathered Tuesday to commemorate a $283,116 Skills Development Fund grant aimed at improving workers’ skills at the forklift manufacturer’s Waco facility.
The grant will create or upgrade 145 new jobs and provide fabrication, maintenance and production training at the plant.
Manitou Group Plant Manager Martin Simard said he has received good feedback from his employees after some of the early trainings. He said utilizing the money is an investment in the company’s next generation of equipment and staff development.
“We need to stay open-minded in pushing boundaries,” Simard said. “We still have good ideas and things to do.”
Trainings by TSTC faculty began in March and will finish in November.
“TSTC has always leaned forward to provide an edge for companies and training,” said Andres Alcantar, chairman and commissioner representing the public for the Texas Workforce Commission.
Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, said she was pleased Manitou Group was taking advantage of what TSTC and the TWC have to offer.
Bob Livingston, TSTC’s vice president of industry relations, said the grant benefits local employees who will have improved productivity and morale, and businesses that will receive dollars spent by residents. TSTC is able to fulfill its mission with job training while paying faculty additional money to teach new skills.
“If you like to hire our students, you should like us training your employees,” said Livingston.
The Skills Development Fund has been used since 1996 to localize workforce training for companies. This enables companies to work directly with local partners to develop training tailored to employees’ needs. The grant has assisted more than 4,200 employers statewide, according to the TWC.
Texas Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, R-Waco, said the funds signify a holistic approach in continuing to be a foundation for the Texas economy.
And, TSTC is at the forefront in hiring and placing more Texans in highly skilled jobs.
“TSTC is super important and brings focus to Waco,” Anderson said. “The TSTC experience is really amazing.”
Manitou on Imperial Drive in Waco has about 170 employees involved in the production of forklifts for a variety of industries.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.