Region Celebrates Opening of the Central Texas Technology Center Expansion
Local Workforce Training Facility Expansion Opens for Fall 2016 Semester
Photo Courtesy of Laura McKenzie - Herald Zeitung
Central Texas Technology Center (CTTC) Expansion Timelapse
In May 2015, a host of local dignitaries, guests and members of the public gathered to break ground on a facility expansion that would soon take our region's manufacturing and industrial sectors to the next level.
Less than a year and a half later, these same individuals gathered for the ribbon-cutting of the Central Texas Technology Center (CTTC) expansion that celebrated the fruits of a collaborative partnership between the cities of Seguin and New Braunfels.
The CTTC has provided vital workforce development for the cities of New Braunfels and Seguin, as well as Comal and Guadalupe counties since in conception in 2004. September 9, 2016, marked the grand opening of a facility expansion that will enhance workforce training support and expand the region's manufacturing and industrial base for years to come.
16 months in the making, the expanded facility grew from about 25,000 to 55,000 square feet. The new building, similar in appearance to the original, houses additional instructional space, chemistry and biology labs, faculty offices, conference rooms and student support areas. Expanding regional workforce development through science and technology, the newly expanded CTTC offers Associate's Degrees for the first time and doubles the number of students it can serve to more than 3,500.
The $6.3 million facility expansion was a collaborative effort between the cities of Seguin, New Braunfels, Seguin Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, New Braunfels Industrial Development Board (4B) and Alamo Colleges.
Funding for the project included $700,000 from the SEDC, a $1.25 million grant provided by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), $4 million in funding from voters in the New Braunfels 2013 Bond Program and a $320,000 contribution from the New Braunfels Industrial Development Corporation (4B Board).
During the ceremony, Seguin Mayor Don Keil said the CTTC should serve as evidence that in this part of the country, people are committed to having a well-educated workforce.
"I really want to thank all of you here for making all of this possible - and possible because we have a great community
partnership here," Keil said.
The CTTC works with regional industries in developing employee training programs and curriculum for local manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Continental, CMC Steel and Alamo Group.
"The CTTC is a key asset in sustaining Seguin's vibrant economy. An advanced technology center like CTTC, plays a critical role in developing our local workforce, better positioning us to recruit new business and most importantly- to retain and expand existing businesses," said Joshua Schneuker, Director of Economic Development.
Additionally, the CTTC provides services to Seguin, New Braunfels, Comal, Navarro, and Marion Independent School Districts by enrolling students in dual credit courses.
Reiley + Rose Floral and Design
Seguin Small Business Highlight
Local floral and event design options expand, as another local face is added to the list of native Seguin entrepreneurs.
Owned and operated by 23 year old, Megan Reiley, Reiley + Rose is a studio based floral and design company located in Seguin. Born and raised in Seguin, Reiley's business focuses largely on wedding & special event floral and graphic designs. From bouquets and centerpieces, to wedding signage and custom koozies - If it needs designing, Reiley + Rose can do it.
I have called Seguin home since I was born here in 1993", said Reiley. "I've lived in the same quaint little house, down the same road filled with houses and neighbors who happen to be family. While Seguin is easy to call home, because, well that's exactly what it is; it expresses that meaning in so many different ways", she continued.
"As my 18-year-old self neared high school graduation, there was one thing I was sure of - leaving Seguin and finding a new adventure was the top priority on my list. While I had loved growing up in Seguin, I was ready to leave Small-town, America and find something new and different", said Reiley.
Reiley moved to College Station in the fall of 2011, Texas where she began her purist of a bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University in Physical Therapy. During her first two semesters of college, Reiley says her heart was set on earning a degree and going on to be a doctor of physical therapy to make a difference in our health care system. She continued, "My heart may have been set on this idea, but as I began volunteering and working in the field, I realized that it was a career I couldn't see myself doing every day for the rest of my life. I found myself right back at square one, not knowing what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, or what the future might hold. As I tried to figure out my next step, I found myself doing a lot of soul searching and asked myself a million questions - what makes you happy? What do you enjoy? What would make you want to get up every day and actually want to go to work? The only common denominator I could find in every question I asked was that I wanted something to do with creativity. I wanted a job where every single day was different and unique, and a job that I could use one of my greatest assets to help others. One day on the way to a meeting, I ran into the closest building on campus to use the restroom. As I walked in the side door of the building, I saw in big letters Benz School of Floral Design. As I continued walking I laughed to myself thinking - there's an actual degree for floral design? Later that night, I still thought it had to be a joke and even did a little research on it. To my surprise, it was a real major and it was incredibly impressive; but most importantly, it exuded creativity, something I had been looking for. I had never been so unsure of anything in my life, but two weeks later I changed my major to horticulture and began my journey through the Benz School," said Reiley.
"Today as I think back to that day, I'm so glad I followed my heart and decided to take a chance at a degree in floral design," said Reiley. In May 2015, the Seguin native graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor of arts in Horticulture Floral Design, as well as a minor in business and a professional event management certificate. "There is nothing I enjoy more than working with flowers and creating unique and different designs. From the very first design class I took there has never been anything that has come so naturally to me," she continued.
Reiley says that as she began thinking about where she wanted to be post graduation and what company she might want to work for, she once again found herself incredibly discouraged. She noted that finding a job in the floral design industry is incredibly difficult and that most design companies are small businesses, run and managed by the designers themselves. "I was lucky to find a home at a small floral shop in Marion, which meant I would be moving back to Seguin, the one place I said I would never move back to - never say never," she joked.
"While moving back to Seguin was not something I had ever thought about doing, I learned very quickly that it was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Being back in Seguin meant I was surround by friends and family who loved and supported me through my career. I'm a firm believer in the fact that word of mouth and proven experience are two of the best ways to attract business. I loved seeing familiar faces walk into the shop because they knew I was there and trusted in my abilities. From family friends, to old teachers and classmates, word of mouth quickly made its way around town that I was back in town and designing," she said.
According to Reiley, after graduating, her five-year goal was to open her own business. She said that at that point in her life, she wanted to have learned enough working in the industry to be able to successfully start her own small business. Well, Reiley's five-year goal became more of a one-year goal. She said that I in her first year of working, she learned a tremendous amount not only about business, but about floral design.
"I found my own style of design and found the area of floral I wanted to focus on. I gained a lot of experience in wedding and daily floral work, as well as funeral and sympathy work. While I was able to be creative in all aspects of floral design, I quickly realized I was happiest and flourished when I was working on wedding and event florals," she said.
"As I began thinking about opening my own business, there was one thing I knew I had to do - and that was open my business here in Seguin. The Small-Town America feeling about Seguin that once made me excited to leave, was now the exact reason I had to stay. The community and people in Seguin are some of the best you'll ever find. I knew starting my own business would never be possible if friends and a community who knew and trust my abilities didn't surround me," she said.
Reiley said that although she had obtained a minor in business, she still felt very unsure about a lot of aspects of opening my own business. She said that she started doing her research, and found out that the Seguin Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) provides financial support to the University of Texas San Antonio Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to provide business owners with free, confidential business right here in Seguin.
"When I realized their business advising appointments were completely free, I knew I had to give them a shot and see if they could be of help. Without Larry and his tremendous about of knowledge and support, I would not have had the courage to start my own small business. From my very first appointment with him, he made me feel significant and that my dreams and goals were important and something worth pursuing," said Reiley.
"Megan and I met several times to work on her business formation and to discuss reporting and tax requirements for a small business," said SBDC Manager Larry New. "Megan Reiley has the passion to run a successful floral business and she's also done the hard work to ensure the business requirements are properly arranged," he continued.
Reiley says that she approached the first meeting with a list of questions a mile long ranging from business structures, to taxes and financial information. She said that Larry was able to provide her with an answer to every single question she asked, and even shared stories from his own business experiences to go along with them.
"Without a doubt, I would recommend Larry to any person thinking about pursuing their dream of opening a small business. Since announcing my new venture, I have had several girls I went to school with come to me asking for advice as they try to do the same, and every time, I send them to Larry's office. He is an incredible asset to the small businesses here in Seguin," Reiley said.
"With Larry's help and guidance, I officially open my small business, Reiley + Rose, LLC in September of 2016," she said.
"It was a pleasure to work with her and see how well prepared she was for both the beautiful part of the business and for the back office requirements. I look forward to working with her as her business grows and thrives," said New.
"Since starting my business in September, I have successfully completed three different weddings and I am busy meeting with brides booking weddings and events for 2016 and 2017," Reiley continued.
While she does not have a storefront with regular business hours, Reiley says that she does meet with clients on appointment basis. Reiley + Rose can be found on Facebook and Instagram using the handle @reileyandrose and within the next month, at
. For questions or to set up an appointment with Reiley + Rose, contact Megan at
or by phone at 830-660-2328.
To schedule a meeting with SBDC Manager Larry New, please call (830) 214-6535 or email
Train Your Workforce, Power Your Business
A Look into Texas Workforce Commission Program Initiatives
Texas Workforce Commission Programs Provide Skill-Training Opportunities to Help Your Business Stay Competitive in Today's Global Market.
With a population of approximately 30,000 people, Seguin is pro-business community that is committed to growth. Seguin continues to be one of the strongest manufacturing clusters in region, making up nearly 20 percent of the local economy. In fact, Seguin is recognized for having one of the highest manufacturing jobs per capita in the state of Texas and almost twice the national average manufacturing jobs.
Consisting of cooperative government leadership in support of business development, the city of Seguin prides itself on maintaining a low cost of doing business, accomplished through a competitive tax structure and low workforce costs. Both the State and local government provide tax incentives, financing assistance and an array of services to help companies establish or expand in Texas.
The Seguin Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) works closely with several of our local and state workforce development agencies including the Alamo Colleges, Central Texas Technology Center (CTTC), Workforce Solutions Alamo (WSA) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in order to enhance positive workforce development in the community and provide a well-trained workforce to major industry.
These workforce development agencies partner to provide several programs that can help grow your business. The Skills Development Fund, Skills for Small Business and Skills for Veterans are programs developed by the Texas Workforce Commission, that were created to provide skills training to your workforce allowing your business to stay competitive in today's global market.
How does the Skills Development Fund Work?
Who is eligible for the Skills Development Fund?
at are the Benefits of the Skills Development Fund?
The Skills Development Fund is Texas' premier job-training program providing training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers. Funding for the program is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission.
Providing training dollars for Texas businesses and workers through a state-funded skills grants, the Skills Development fund helps to ensure that your workforce remains competitive and that new workers trained with the skills that industry requires.
Success with the Skills Development Fund is achieved through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, local workforce development boards and economic development partners.
The Skills Development Fund program assists businesses and trade unions by financing the design and implementation of customized job-training projects. This fund successfully merges business needs and local customized training opportunities into a winning formula to increase the skills levels and wages of the Texas workforce.
A private business, business consortium, or trade union in need of workforce training and funding assistance can rely on an experienced network of partners for guidance along the Skills Development Fund path. Together, under the Skills Development Fund program, businesses gain a more highly trained workforce, workers upgrade their skills, and the Texas economy is strengthened.
Single businesses, business consortia, or trade unions identify training needs, whether they are due to skills gaps, site retooling, new product lines, plant expansions, emerging in-demand skills or other opportunities. Once needs have been identified, the businesses then partners with public community or technical college, or the Texas Extension Service (TEEX).
In partnership with a public community or technical college, or TEEX, a customized training project is then developed that addresses the business(es) needs. The customized training plan supports projected business growth plans while addressing participating trainees' skills gaps, creating new jobs or increasing the skills of existing workers to advance their careers. Together, the business(es) and the public community or technical college, or TEEX, then submit a grant proposal.
The Skills Development fund pays for the training. The college administers the grant using training methods that best accommodate the business(es), such as classroom, simulation, on-site, hands-on, and online instruction.
Grants for an individual business may be limited to $500,000. Tuition, curriculum development, instructor fees and training material can be included in the grant. However, some items such as trainee wages, drug testing and travel costs cannot be covered. Equipment purchases for use in the project have certain restrictions. Project contracts typically last 12 months. The average targeted cost per participant has increased to $1,800 for Skills Development Fund projects funded in Fiscal Year 2016.
As a Texas employer, you are the focus of the Skills Development Fund. You provide two things - a desire to collaborate with the other partners involved with the project and the commitment to see the project through to completion.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission website, the private business, business consortium or trade union must take the following actions to be considered for a Skills Development Fund grant:
- Partner with an eligible grant applicant, which is a public community or technical college, the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or a private, nonprofit community-based organization in partnership with one of those institutions.
- Be actively involved in the planning and design of the customized training project.
- Pay wages to the employees who successfully complete the training program that are equal to or greater than the prevailing wage for the occupation in the local labor market.
- Disclose any other state or federal grant funds sought or awarded for the proposed training project.
- Sign an agreement with the grant applicant outlining each entity's roles and responsibilities in the training project, including reporting requirements related to trainee participation.
- Provide equal employment opportunity documentation as well as information on the occupations for training, employment benefits, wages and social security numbers for trainees.
- Use WorkinTexas.com to post openings for new workers trained under the project.
As Texas' premier job-training program, the Skills Development Fund is an essential component for the attraction and location of new businesses to Texas, as well as the retention and expansion of companies currently in the state. By funding newly hired and existing workers' development of new or upgraded in-demand skills, participating businesses increase competitiveness in the state, national, and global marketplace; increase innovation and efficiency; and support projected business growth.
Since its inception in 1996, the Skills program has helped 4,141 employers create 104,850 jobs and upgrade the skills of 224,483 incumbent workers, for a total of 329,333 workers trained. In these two decades, participating workers have received career and/or advancement opportunities and, in many cases, wage gains, as TWC also pays particular attention when awarding grants to ensure that, at the completion of training, wages are equal to or greater than the prevailing wage in the local area. Statewide, the average wage paid to workers trained with Skills grants has increased from $10.33 an hour in Fiscal Year 1996 to $27.10 an hour in Fiscal Year 2015.
Through continued partnerships with economic development, workforce development boards, and college partners, and with an ongoing focus on continuous process improvement, businesses will be in a position to respond to rapidly shifting markets and the workforce will be equipped with skills to meet the needs of the 21st century global marketplace.
SKILLS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
How does Skills for Small Business Work?
Who is Eligible for Skills for Small Business?
What are the Benefits of Skills for Small Business?
Through the Texas Workforce Commission Skills for Small Business program, up to $2 million from the Skills Development Fund is dedicated to the backbone of Texas' business community-small employers. Small businesses can apply to the Texas Workforce Commission for training offered by their local community or technical college, or the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Texas Workforce Commission processes the applications and works with the college to fund the specific courses selected by businesses for their employees.
Workforce Development Boards, economic development partners or chambers of commerce facilitate partnerships with businesses by identifying small businesses that are hiring new workers and those with training needs.
To ensure that projects are aligned with local economic development goals, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners can provide applicants with data on labor market statistics and local industry trends.
- Small business identifies training courses.
- The businesses apply directly to Texas Workforce Commission for approval for training provided by the local public community or technical college, or TEEX.
- Texas Workforce Commission evaluates the application and works with local colleges to fund the selected training upon approval.
- This streamlined application process allows small businesses quick, efficient access to needed training.
- Applications are available on the Texas Workforce Commission website, at local colleges and Local Workforce Development Boards.
- Texas Workforce Commission project development specialists are available to help complete applications and provide other assistance.
The Skills for Small Business program supports businesses with fewer than 100 employees, and emphasizes training for new workers. It also may help upgrade the skills of incumbent workers. According to the Texas Workforce Commission website, Skills for Small Business:
- Provides funding to small businesses with 99 and fewer employees.Emphasizes training new employees who have been hired by the business up to twelve months prior to the date that TWC receives an application.
- The program pays up to $1,800 for the training of each new employee and $900 for existing (incumbent) employees during a 12-month period.
- Funding for training is for full-time, permanent employees.
- All training must be provided by the grant recipients, which includes a public community or technical college or TEEX. No third-party vendor training is allowed.
- Training must be selected from active course catalogs/schedules - credit, continuing education, online, or other available unpublished courses.
- The program also may emphasize training in occupations targeted by Workforce Development Boards.
- Employers must pay the prevailing wages in the local labor market to the trainees funded under the grant.
- Grants provide funds for tuition and fees, which are dispersed directly to the college.
More than 468,000 small businesses are integral to the Texas economy. Texas Workforce Commission's Skills for Small Business program provides businesses the opportunity to request workforce training that will respond to their operational needs. This initiative allows small businesses with 99 and fewer workers to select courses they determine necessary for success.
In Fiscal Year 2015, nearly $725,000 was contracted to public community and technical colleges and TEEX for this initiative that is offered in coordination with the Office of the Governor's Small Business Forums.
Through the Skills for Small Business Initiative, employees of small businesses have participated in training including automotive repair, web design, solar panel installation, drafting, and medical billing and coding. These types of training help increase the competitiveness and opportunity for growth of small businesses across Texas.
As the Skills for Small Business training providers, college partners gain an enhanced ability to respond to the evolving needs of industry. Businesses gain a more highly trained workforce, workers upgrade their skills, and the Texas economy strengthens as a whole.
How does Skills for Veterans Work?
Who is Eligible for Skills for Veterans?
The Skills for Veterans (SV) is a new initiative by the Texas Workforce Commission that addresses the unique challenges and training needs of Texas Veterans returning home and entering the Texas workforce. The Texas Workforce Commission has set aside $1 million to fund this special initiative that strives to enhance the professional skills of veterans, thereby benefiting employers' business operations.
Individuals who are post-9/11 era veterans, especially those veterans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and are newly hired, are eligible to participate in this training initiative through their employers.
As the SV grant recipient, a local public community or technical college or the Texas Engineering Extension Service is the fiscal agent of this program and is the recipient of grant funds will pay for training provided to veterans under this initiative. The college works closely with the business in identifying appropriate training courses that enhance the professional skills of veterans and benefit the employer's business operations.
Private businesses, including private and nonprofit hospitals applies to Texas Workforce Commission for training offered by their local community or technical college, or TEEX, to upgrade the skills of newly hired veterans. The college will work with the business to identify training courses to enhance the skills of veterans and benefit the employer's business operations.
Texas Workforce Commission reviews the applications. Once approved, Texas Workforce Commission works with the college to fund the specific courses selected by businesses for their employees.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission website, a business must obtain the following qualities to be eligible to participate in the SV program:
- Be a private business, including private non-profit hospitals.
- Employ at least one full-time, permanent individual.
- Be financially stable.
- Be liable to pay Unemployment Insurance contributions to TWC, and be in compliance with the reporting and payment requirements.
- Be in compliance with the Texas Business and Commerce Code.
The SV program will cover:
- Tuition and fees costs for course offerings provided by public community and technical colleges, and TEEX in the local area of the business - see listing of eligible institutions at: the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/apps/GM/. (Important Note: The SVI program will not cover costs for course offerings from third-party vendors, universities, or proprietary or vocational schools.)
- Up to $1,800 to be utilized in a 12-month period for an eligible post 9/11 era veteran who meets the definition of a new employee. Funding for training for this individual is not available after this 12-month period.
For the purposes of this program, a new employee is defined as an individual who is hired in the 12 months prior to Texas Workforce Commission's receipt of the application requesting training.
For the purposes of this program, a veteran will be identified by the submission of a copy of the veteran's Form DD-214 (Member-4 copy). A copy of this form will be required with the application submission. Individuals who are post 9/11 era veterans, and are new employees of the business partner, are eligible to receiving training under this initiative.
Businesses will be responsible for all course costs not covered by SV funding.
It is a requirement of the program that the hourly wage of each employee for whom training is being requested meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for that occupation in the local labor market. Texas Workforce Commission will use local labor market wage data to determine if this requirement is met.
It is the Seguin Economic Development Corporation's duty as your local economic development partner, to assist your business through our critical role in helping to identify your local training needs and bringing together the various partners necessary to successfully accomplish these program initiatives.
Through partnerships between businesses, the Alamo Colleges, and/or the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, Workforce Solutions Alamo, the SEDC, and TWC, these programs and the Texas workforce system have been key components for targeted workforce solutions for 20 years. With programs focusing on high-growth, high-demand industry sectors to assist businesses with their workforce training, the Texas workforce system has become a trusted source for workforce solutions.
Director of Economic Development
Business Retention Specialist
Business Recruitment Specialist