An assessment of Alamo Community College districts's role in expanding economic development through customized workforce training: the Toyota partnership

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Solis, Ricardo Javier

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Community colleges attract businesses and play a factor in their expansion, thereby increasing employment and prosperity. However, there is limited evidence that major industry recruitment, such as automotive manufacturing, occur as a major result of the presence of community college strategic programs and their participation in economic initiatives. This study was conducted to explore selected economic development strategies used by the Alamo Community College District to respond to the economic growth, specifically, identifying the strategy employed to develop and promote the Team Toyota recruitment of the truck manufacturing plant. This study was prompted by the perilous interest of communities in attracting, retaining, and retraining a highly competent workforce in the New Economy. Understanding the dynamics and role that the district plays in fostering economic prosperity is critical. The district’s workforce initiatives are the key to this understanding and the focal point of this study has been the recent Toyota plant acquisition in an effort to gain a clear perspective on how the district encourages economic development in the San Antonio region. This study was designed using qualitative methods in order to provide a descriptive understanding from leadership participants. The results of this study indicate that the respondents and key participants in the Team Toyota initiative strongly support the premise that workforce education provided by the college district is essential to economic development efforts and, more importantly, was decisive in the Toyota truck project. The availability of a qualified workforce was the overwhelming factor highlighted by all participants as the nexus of the economic development for the region and as a vital factor for Toyota Motor Corporation to favor Texas. Simultaneously, the partnerships from the Alamo Community College District were portrayed as key to facilitating this qualified workforce by providing the customized training needs of business and Toyota. Additionally, the basic location factors identified in the recruitment strategy which made San Antonio a suitable site were those related to the specialized production requirements of Toyota Production Systems.