May Word from the Chairman (2017)

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May 30, 2017
Veterans Transitioning Into the Workforce 
In line with my vision to increase our involvement in workforce development, the North SA Chamber has dedicated the first quarter of 2017 to listening to the needs of various players in our city concerning this matter (see more information under Organizations Focusing On Workforce Development). Our first source of information – our members – further emphasized that our focus on workforce is timely. Even as our city grows, all industries (medicine, manufacturing, technology and more) are struggling to locate workers that are prepared technically for a professional career.
Naturally, we turned our focus to our veterans – looking into the existing programs that take already highly trained and skilled professionals and transfer them into positions that are technical yet, accessible. We found great resources at Joint Base San Antonio, linking service members and their families to workshops, one-on-one consultations, employment assistance and resources. Nationwide, statewide and even local efforts such as Hiring Our Heroes, Operation Welcome Home, and San Antonio Community Action Committee all exist to connect veterans to employment. So where does the problem lie? If there are close to 30,000 veterans discharged into the workforce nationally each year and San Antonio is known as “Military City USA”, why is it that healthcare and technical industries are lacking skilled workers? What we’ve found is that although the resources are plentiful, there is a gap between the skills that veterans can bring and how to effectively communicate them into an opportunity for civilian employment. Both employers and veterans have difficulty translating military skills into civilian skills and vice versa.
As a result of this research and of our deep passion to support our veterans, we have decided to focus our attention on educating, and finding ways to streamline, the transition from veteran to workforce. We hope that you will join us on this enterprise as we begin our process of planning educational opportunities and resources to support this initiative. To join our Workforce Development Council or to provide input, please send a request to Lisa Arriazola at
Organizations Focusing on Workforce Development
On our search to find our voice in workforce development, the North SA Chamber had the opportunity to meet with a number of very valuable resources committed to preparing, educating and providing opportunities to individuals on both ends of the spectrum. Most importantly, these organizations strive to provide real-life applications to individuals preparing to enter or reenter the workforce and to the individuals educating our future workforce.
In programs like SA Works, we see quality training for high school students and pipeline development for employers. Their Summer Internship Program provides students and employers with realistic expectations and encourages interest in STEM career paths (science, technology, engineering and math). As part of SA Works mission to see workforce development holistically, they also belong to the Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition. Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition’s goal is to expose educators to STEM career pathways and practical applications to bring back to the classroom through their Teacher Externship Program. For more detailed information on this program or to access the teacher registration, please visit click here.
The Bexar County Reentry Program is a program that believes in second chances. They serve as a training ground for the formerly incarcerated population and strive to increase employability through focused education and resources. Reducing recidivism is a win-win for San Antonio as it reduces the costs of incarceration paid by citizens, increases safety and fulfills gaps in our workforce. The North SA Chamber is pleased to have members that have hired employees through this program and have benefitted from their hard work and commitment. As a community it is our job to lend a hand to the individuals who have made mistakes but are prepared to for their second chance. For more information on this program and how you can help, please visit their website or contact Debra Jordan at
Get Informed. Network.
The North SA Chamber has one monthly program specifically focused on providing networking and business solutions to meet your operational needs. Just this year, we added a quarterly technology focus to the program and we encourage you to come and take part. Our Networking Breakfast is hosted every month at the Petroleum Club on the second Tuesday. June’s event will provide attendees with a recap on the 85th Legislative Session straight from the President and Regional Manager of the Texas Association of Business. Information and registration details for this month can be found and the event page here. For sponsorship information, please contact Yvonne Gonzales at
Have a Voice
As we continue to work towards moving San Antonio forward, I encourage you to be a voice for your business and industries. Get educated on legislation at Networking Breakfast, plug into our initiatives and committees, explore our NEW Electronic Member Handbook, or attend a special event.
We are here to serve you and our community. We appreciate your membership, your continued involvement and for all that you do to keep Bexar County strong.

Whitney Lewis, Vice Pres Marketing & PR
(210) 384-7725