North Texas

(RED OAK, Texas) – Companies looking to move to cities need an available workforce and job training options.

Warren Ketteman, president and chief executive officer of the Waxahachie Economic Development Corp., said Texas State Technical College is important to the city’s economic development because of its training and technical programs.

“Without TSTC and other partners, I cannot do what I do,” Ketteman said.

Ketteman said the manufacturing sector is particularly cognizant of the need for an existing. He said some companies look within an hour’s drive of a city to determine the pool of potential workers. 

“We want all of them to hire local folks, absolutely, because we want to keep those paychecks right here,” Ketteman said. “All economic development is local.”

Marcus Balch, provost of TSTC’s North Texas campus, said the institution has been invited to participate in the Waxahachie Project, which promotes businesses, churches, government and schools coming together for the city’s betterment.

“We have got a pretty solid relationship with Waxahachie,” said Balch. “We have had a number of students from the area in our programs, great support from the Waxahachie Independent School District and a few donors that have assisted with scholarship funds.”

He said the city’s chamber of commerce has also been supportive of TSTC’s work.

“There are a lot of solid connections that we are excited to continue to develop relationships with and aid in economic development in the area,” he said.

Some of the companies in Waxahachie that have hired TSTC graduates in the last five years include H2O Steel, Stelco Industries, Southern Frac LLC, Timco Logistics Systems and Walgreens Distribution Center, according to TSTC’s Career Services department.

Dana Lynch, human resources manager at Walgreens Distribution Center, said the company currently has openings for maintenance technicians and distribution center supervisors. The company is looking for workers through its website and virtual job fairs. 

Erik Shoquist, plant manager at Cardinal Glass Industries in Waxahachie, said a majority of job openings are in production, machine operations and assembly. He said the company has been actively hiring since May.

“We have a very automated facility that requires us to have a very strong information technology and technical group,” Shoquist said. “Our maintenance team makes up about 10 percent of our workforce.”

Shoquist said the company looks for employees who have integrity and motivation to carry on the plant’s culture.

“Over the years we have hired students from TSTC,” he said. “We have been pleased with the strong foundation they built with TSTC, and they have progressed into leadership roles on our maintenance team.”

Ketteman said the city continues to focus on industries like distribution, logistics, technology and medical devices and supplies. He said the city also has its eye on business and data service companies and chip manufacturers.

“Those are really large projects. and they bring a huge tax base to the community,” he said.

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