Jobs are the biggest issue in Siouxland and in the country. Now, a local college and a local business are teaming up to create hundreds of new jobs right here in Sioux City.
Three weeks ago, Tony Sierra didn't have a career plan when he ran into a company called Sabre at a job fair.
"I was interested because I was unemployed at the time. So, I wanted to kind of get into a different field of work," said Sierra.
Now, he has a job waiting for him. Just two weeks into Western Iowa Tech's month long program, Sierra's getting some of the hands-on training that'll get him ready for a career with Sabre Industries.
"It's definitely something, to get used to wearing that helmet and shield and all that stuff," said Sierra.
Before hitting the machines, students need to practice first. They get to work with a state-of-the-art simulator, before they try the machines for real.
"The simulator released some of the tension that I had before going into the shop, and then using the real welder," said Judy Zastrow, a student welder.
Seeing a need for skilled labor, the city challenged Sabre to create 200 new jobs. So, Sabre turned to an old partner at WIT.
"We felt that if we couldn't draw the work force from the community, we would have to train one," said Paula Peterson, human resources director for Sabre.
A partnership between Sabre and WIT will create 200 jobs in the coming months. Once this partnership gets into full swing, it'll benefit both the school and the company. The partnership could become even more fruitful down the road, with a total capital investment of $28 million and 532 new jobs.
"We believe if we continue this dialogue and continue to do this that we're going to be able to have some solutions to fill that middle skill gap that exists here in Sioux City," said Terry Murrell.
As more students hop on board each week, the school is hoping Sabre's investment will pay off in the long run.
A career fair at WIT will provide an opportunity to learn more about Sabre's available positions. It will be held on Tuesday, June 12, from 4 to 7 p.m.
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