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Caterpillar Inc. partners with Victoria College for $422,829 job-training grant

Dec. 21, 2013 at 6:21 a.m.

From left, Luis A. Guerra, Victoria College Board of Trustees vice chairman; Henry Guajardo, executive director of the Golden Crescent Workforce Development Board; State Rep. Geanie Morrison; Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission chairman; Dr. Tom Butler, VC president; Chris Heitzmann, Caterpillar Human Resources manager; VC Board of Trustees secretary  Dr. Josie Rivera; and trustees Catherine McHaney, John Villafranca and V. Bland Proctor.

Caterpillar Inc. has partnered with Victoria College to provide job training using a $422,829 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The grant will be used to custom train 180 new workers in assembly, warehouse vehicle operations, production welding, lean manufacturing and production quality awareness and safety. Those trained will include production technicians and warehouse associates.

Commission chairman Andres Alcantar presented a check to VC President Dr. Tom Butler and representatives from the partnering businesses at a ceremony at the college's Liberty Street Industrial Training Center.

Alcantar cited the "strong partnership at all levels" among Victoria College, Caterpillar and area businesses.

"Skills grants deliver customized training solutions that help Texas employers and workers succeed in the marketplace," Alcantar said. "This investment builds not only employee skills but the capabilities of our community colleges to the benefit of employers and the community. We are pleased to make this investment."

Chris Heitzmann, Caterpillar Inc. human resources manager, said Texas is a very business-friendly state, and his company wants to capitalize on that.

"We're very focused on the success a person can have in a manufacturing career," he said.

A previous $789,174 Skills Development Fund grant, awarded in February 2012, was used to train 396 people for a total of 28,993 training hours.

From the program's inception in 1996 through 2012, Skills Development Fund grants have created or upgraded more than 286,000 jobs throughout Texas. The grants have assisted 3,901 employers with their customized training needs.

The legislature appropriated $48.5 million to the Skills Development Fund for the 2012-13 year.

Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the commission website at skills.texasworkforce.org.

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