TSTC awarded $100K grant

HARLINGEN — The Texas Workforce Commission has awarded $100,001 toward a partnership between Texas State Technical College and SATA USA.

SATA USA will be working with TSTC to create a program in which students will learn the skills necessary to not only work at SATA but make it better, said Marco Margrotto, chief operating officer and vice president of SATA USA.

State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, called the award announcement “another great day for Cameron County.”

“I look forward to SATA increasing their presence as they develop new operations in Brownsville … this award comes with confidence in the economic health of our county,” Lucio said.

State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said the partnership would impact many lives in the future.

“These are 40 jobs, meaning 40 families that are going to have good paying jobs and an opportunity to get health insurance,” Oliveira said.

In 2016, the Texas Workforce Commission had 47 fund rounds and distributed about $27 million throughout the state, Oliveira said.

State Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, cited a statistic that 80 percent of new jobs will require a licensed certification or degree. It is important that partnerships like the one between TSTC and SATA happen to expand training opportunities for the future, he said.

“There’s a lot of work to do. I’m so excited and can’t wait to see the tangible product created by all these people working together,” Lucio III said.

John Cowen, board member on the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, said typically, every dollar invested by the GBIC results in a return of seven dollars. With SATA in the picture, that dollar returns $11.

“So in theory, a $2 million investment will have a return of $22 million,” Cowen said.

Commissioner Ruth Hughs of the Texas Workforce Commission said Brownsville has added 800 jobs during the course of the month, and 8,000 jobs during the past year.

“This is the second time I’m back in the region this week. I think that in itself shows the growth here,” Hughs said.

Margrotto said it was immediately apparent that TSTC was the right partner for SATA.

SATA already has created 45 new jobs in Brownsville, and by the end of this year that number should reach 60. Margrotto hopes the number can double next year. He said he wants to find the workforce locally. The company manufactures parts for the auto industry and heavy equipment sector.

“It is not easy because there is no experience, but we can build this. If we work together with the support we have, it is possible to achieve this,” Margrotto said.

The partnership is a way for everyone to grow, Margrotto added.

“We want to continue to be (SATA’s) partner, and establish that relationship and grow with (them),” said Loree Scott, senior executive director of workforce training at TSTC.