Texas Workforce Commission awards grant

April 10, 2018

CK Technologies and Texas Southmost College are using a $361,033 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund for job training to fill gaps in the company’s workforce.

Julian Alvarez, TWC commissioner representing labor, presented an oversized check at a ceremony on Monday at the TSC Performing Arts Center that attracted dozens of state and local elected officials, TSC leaders and economic development officials from around Cameron County.

CK Technologies, which manufactures injection-molded fairings for semi trucks, opened in the former Titan Tire building on Paredes Line Road in 2011. CK started with 50 employees and now has more than 250, exceeding hiring expectations by about a 150 employees, according to Eric Martz, the company’s associate director of manufacturing in Brownsville.

He said the plant has had some difficulty finding technically skilled workers to fill certain jobs involving injection molding, painting and robotics. Some employees have been sent elsewhere for training and some have been trained in-house, Martz said. The new training through TSC has already begun, much of it focusing on equipment maintenance training, he said.

“Along with that equipment you’ve got to have the proper maintenance,” Martz said, adding that the TSC grant is “definitely going to help us.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our employees,” he said.

Melinda Rodriguez, TSC vice president of institutional advancement and workforce training, wrote the grant, a process that took about two years and much engagement between CK and TSC to assess the company’s actual needs and make sure the grant application reflected that TSC would satisfy them, she said.

“We didn’t just write a grant to get money,” Rodriguez said. “We immersed ourselves in understanding the company.”


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