Gainesville corporation partners with NCTC to grow workforce

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- One of Gainesville's largest employers is sending hundreds of workers back to school -- in a move they hope will benefit the entire community.

Valew, a California-based manufacturing company announced last month it's branching out to Gainesville, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area.

One of the major incentives that attracted them to the city is the workforce.

NCTC has been training hundreds of people over the years for manufacturing jobs, and one longtime local company is taking advantage of that.

Zodiac Aerospace is Cooke County's largest employer. Over the last two years they've added nearly 350 jobs, bringing their workforce to more than 600 people.

That's hundreds of employees who are now heading back to the classroom.

"Training is more of a corner stone of our strategy than it's ever been in the past," Jeff Johnston said.

President and CEO Jeff Johnston's focus for his employees is continuous learning.

With the help of a new $790,000 skills development grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, they will pay NCTC to train these employees in many different areas such as welding, computer-aided design, electrical and mathematics.

"One of our key strategies is actually to invest in our people. To bring their skill levels up to compete on a global level," Johnston said.

This is just the latest partnership between NCTC and local companies.

"Our communities grow when we offer this kind of program," NCTC vocational coordinator Kenny Smith said.

They also offer job training to high school and college students.

"We see young people come in here who are looking for a career, not necessarily a four-year college education. They're looking for a job. They're looking for a career path. And the more paths we can give them, the more success we can offer," Smith said.

Johnston says manufacturers rely on a skilled workforce, and the training available through NCTC is attractive when deciding where to build your business.

"Everyone thinks immediately of local incentives and things like that. But really, at the end of the day it's what kind of labor pool do you have? Do you have adequate resources to fuel our kind of growth?" Johnston said.

"If they can't get labor in the community, you're not going to get them no matter how much cash or incentives you throw at them," GEDC director Kent Sharp said.

NCTC's 14 point 8 million dollar school bond will go to voters in November.

Part of the bond will go towards the expansion of the Career and Technology building, which instructors say is needed for the growing program.

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