Boeing Aerospace, Ryder Integrated Logistics, Lockheed Martin and many other companies, small and large, are settling down at the former Kelly Air Force Base (AFB) in San Antonio. Their residence is part of the metamorphosis of one of the Air Force’s largest aircraft and engine depots into KellyUSA, a 4,800-acre, master-planned aerospace, logistics, business and industrial center.
The privatization of the former Air Force base began several years ago because of severe reductions in defense spending, making KellyUSA a prime candidate for participation in the Economic Development Administration’s Defense Technology Conversion (EDA-DTC) project.
Many employees of the former Air Force base were displaced due to the reductions but are quickly being re-hired by the new commercial tenants as the base is rapidly becoming privatized. This creates an opportunity for expanded career opportunities as well as a challenge for employees to improve their technical skills.
The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a partner with the EDA-DTC project, provided the much-needed training, free of charge, to the employees of the companies located at KellyUSA. A total of eight classes were offered during this period including training in software applications such as Word, Excel and Access and technical classes in electronics including state-of-the-art applications such as programmable logic controllers.
Many of the smaller companies in the industrial park are unable to offer training programs on site and are very grateful for any opportunity to further the education of their employees at reduced rates.
This is just the beginning of what will soon become an ongoing, on-site technologically current training program as part of the park’s overall strategic development plan.
As Andrea Terrell, director of workforce development for Kelly USA, explained, “Our projected labor market demand is 1,600 employees per year for the next six years — the only way to meet that goal is by a concerted, progressive education and training strategy.”
The EDA-DTC project is a contract between the Economic Development Administration and the Texas Engineering Extension Service to aid defense companies impacted by spending cuts in technology commercialization efforts.