AUSTIN (KXAN) — What does it take to get a job at Tesla? Austin Community College is providing a chance for interested Austinites to find that answer this week.
A spokesperson for ACC said they’ve seen so much interest in their new Tesla training program that they are hosting two related job events this week.
The Manufacturing Careers Expo will feature Samsung, Applied Materials and Tesla and will be held Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the ACC Highland Campus (6101 Highland Campus Drive).
On Wednesday, ACC spokesperson Sydney Pruitt told KXAN they already had hundreds of RSVPs for both events.
Last month, Austin Community College District and Tesla announced their Tesla START Manufacturing program at ACC. Officials said the training program is the first of its kind in the country and will provide a training pipeline for careers at Tesla.
The 14-week START program will begin with the inaugural cohort in August, and a new cohort expected each month.
“Definitely Tesla,” said Shardae Barnes, an ACC student, when asked why they came to the expo on Thursday.
“I came here to know about, know more about Tesla, to be honest. I mean, it’s Tesla — everybody’s trying to get in there,” echoed Jermaine Kinney Rutt.
“They do have to be a high school graduate, and they do have to have some aptitude for technical background. It doesn’t mean education, it could probably be applied skills or job experience.”Laura Marmolejo, ACC’s advanced manufacturing department chair
Marmolejo oversees the START Manufacturing program and said they received more than 700 information requests since the announcement. Their goal is to train more than 300 students over the next year.
“If you’re not selected or you don’t have that background, we’re trying to provide other avenues for them to get that skillset,” Marmolejo said. “Since it’s an ongoing process, people have the ability and the time to develop the skills needed to become a competitive applicant for the START program.”
Marmolejo couldn’t provide the average starting salary for those Tesla technician positions.
At the time of this article’s publication, Tesla had about 250 job listings in Austin.
Austin’s growing manufacturing industry
ACC said there are more than 1,600 manufacturing businesses accounting for 65,000 jobs in Central Texas alone.
The college cites a study by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank that indicates Texas manufacturing executives are struggling to fill open positions. According to the bank’s statewide survey, about 80% plan to raise wages to attract and retain more manufacturing employees.
“Tesla’s talking about hiring 10,000, we have a possible Samsung expansion, that’s another 2,500,” said Ed Latson, CEO of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association.
Latson said more than 80 other companies are also currently looking for space in Austin.
“With Tesla moving here, their suppliers are coming here, so legitimately, I think we’re looking at a workforce that’s going to grow 20 to 30% over the next five years,” Latson said.
It’s a message that hit home with some prospective employees, who left with more possibilities in mind than what they came in with.
“Applied Materials actually just spoke out to me,” said Rutt. “I feel like I may have a shot at maybe getting a job.”
“If any opportunity that comes my way that I feel it’s going to be beneficial towards my career and my life as well, then yeah, I’m going to go ahead and do it. It’s an experience,” said Barnes.