Growing demand for jobs in San Antonio drives more students in vocational schools


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SAN ANTONIO – Taking the vocational school route rather than the traditional four-year university route may give students an advantage in certain career areas.

Administrators at St. Philip’s College said they couldn’t get students into the workforce fast enough to meet industry demand

Angela Barclay, a nursing student at St. Philip’s College, said she chose the professional route during a four-year school because she needed a plan to make money fast .

“I’m seasoned so I don’t have time for four years,” Barclay said.

Randall Dawson, vice president of academic success at St. Philip’s College, says the school is seeing more and more students like Barclay entering all of their nearly 70 programs.

According to Dawson, St. Philip’s has awarded more certificates and diplomas in the past 3-5 years than ever before.

He attributes the rapid growth in employment and the labor market to San Antonio, which is the seventh largest city in the United States. Dawson believes construction and trades jobs are huge right now.

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“They need welders, they need plumbers, they need HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), they need concrete specialists. All of these things bring us students, ”he said.

Because of this need, the college is doing more marketing to local high school students. St. Philip’s also offers double credit opportunities in 45 surrounding school districts.

One of the areas most in need of workers is the area of ​​information technology and cybersecurity.

“In the state of Texas, there are 1,900 jobs that are not specifically filled because of computer skills,” said Rick Lopez, computer program director for the cybersecurity program at St Philip’s College.

According to Lopez, the advantage of a two-year school like St. Philip’s over a four-year school is the most focused program helping students get into the workforce quickly.

Lopez believes that the extended program of a 4-year program creates a vacuum in the job market.

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Another advantage of the professional route is that it saves money.

According to Dawson, going to a two-year school like St Philip’s College can save thousands of students in tuition fees.

In addition, he also said that the average student salary after two years of their programs ranges from $ 40,000 to $ 50,000 per year.

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