Manufacturing jobs on the rise in Austin-area, college works to fill need for skilled workers

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Manufacturing is a growing industry in Central Texas and the Austin Chamber of Commerce expects jobs to grow by 12% in the next eight years.

“It’s become a very big part of Austin,” said Laura Marmolejo, an engineer and manufacturing professor at Austin Community College.

At present, there are 60,000 manufacturing jobs in the Austin area and 1,173 manufacturing firms accounting for 11% of the metro area’s gross domestic product.

One ACC student, Rodolfo Meza, is already taking advantage of the field’s opportunities.

“Sometimes I still feel like a kid in high school who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Meza said.

While the 19-year-old may feel inexperienced, he is well on his way to becoming an electrical engineer. Meza is one of about 10 students who goes to class and works in the manufacturing industry. It’s a partnership between ACC and Samsung.

“I don’t think I’ve fully processed that yet,” he said. “I’m working with people who are like twice or three times my age.”

Marmolejo said with the industry rapidly growing and the need for skilled workers going up they’re continuously working to help create a pipeline from student to employee.

“My worry is that if we don’t get enough skilled workers to (the companies), (companies) might start looking at other cities,” Marmolejo said.

On Saturday, Austin Community College representatives will host The Skill-up: Manufacturing Open House revolving around the industry. They hope to connect students interested in manufacturing with industry leaders. The event will be at the Riverside Campus in the Frank Squires Building from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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