Employers seeking technically trained employees

By Randy Davila
Pulse staff reporter

Erika Santos, Cosmetology Operator sophomore, works on Irma Martinez's, Public Relations freshman, hair for PAC's America Recycles Day event.  Photo taken by Dr. Denise Richter
Erika Santos, Cosmetology Operator sophomore, works on Irma Martinez’s hair for PAC’s America Recycles Day event.  Photo taken by Dr. Denise Richter.

Help wanted signs are starting to multiply around town, and skilled, trade-educated students are primed for jobs that are on the rise, such as Logistics and Cosmetology. Palo Alto College is on a hard charge to make sure that students are ready for the demanding workforce.

“Our Cosmetology program is structured for two main things. One is that they can go and practice as a cosmetology operator and secondly as an entrepreneur,” said Dolores Zapata-Caballero, interim academic director. “So when we are looking at our objectives, one is that they have the skill set to provide excellent services, and then secondly, they have the business mindset.”

PAC’s Cosmetology program is on average $10,000 cheaper in tuition than other local institutions, and it also gives students the ability to earn a transferable associate’s degree. PAC is the only school in San Antonio that offers this.

“It’s a good platform to start your career…[the Cosmetology program] also helps build clientele that will stick with you after school,” said Alexis Ortega, Cosmetology Operator sophomore.

Erika Santos, Cosmetology Operator sophomore, said “It’s cheaper and also you are getting a two-in-one.  I’m getting my license and associate’s.”

The Cosmetology program here at PAC is taking advantage of the industry’s spike.  By 2020, it is predicted that there will be roughly 1,000 Cosmetology job openings in the San Antonio region.

“I think with the economic development, specifically on the South Side, I think those numbers will increase…I think when the community knows we are here.  It will take a different course, one that is upwards,” said Zapata-Caballero.

Palo Alto also offers technical training in one of the most stable industries in America, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, which is the science of complex business operations.

“When you look at business today, Logistics is the oil of the engine that runs business,” said Ronnie Brannon, project coordinator. “One of our goals is to provide that educational knowledge of logistics…and that we have a program that will equip them with everything they will need when they get out in the industry.”

This industry is estimated to bring 1.1 million new jobs nationally to the market within the next year.  Locally, Logistics majors are quickly being hired at Amazon, H-E-B, Toyota and other local operations.

“There is Logistics in every company, and when you look at baby boomers retiring…there’s going to be higher demand for individuals in the industry,” said Brannon.

The program has hands-on learning for software used in the logistics industry, such as MercuryGate and Infor, which is something most major universities do not offer.

Other technical programs offered at PAC include Administrative Computer Technology, Agricultural Sciences, Industrial Technology, Business Management, Oil and Gas Technology, Computer Information Systems/Computer Sciences and Veterinary Technology.

New programs such as Dental Hygiene and Brewery Science are in the works as well to keep up with the growing workforce demands.

These programs offer transferrable associate’s degrees for those who are looking to build their educational portfolio.  For more information, call the BOLD Advising Center at (210) 486-3366, or visit their office located in the Palomino Center Annex, Room 200.