Thomas Perez
Alamo Academies graduate, Adam Arroyo and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in a roundtable session during the Secretary’s visit to Alamo Colleges.

The Alamo Academies were honored to have U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visit the program July 10th, 2014.  During the visit, which was a follow-up to work completed by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Education & Workforce Development team during this year’s SA to DC trip, Secretary Perez toured the Alamo Academies and the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program at the Alamo Colleges Workforce Center of Excellence.

Thomas Perez
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez tours the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program at Alamo Colleges escorted by Alamo Academies graduate, Sarah Escobar.

Following the tour, Secretary Perez participated in a roundtable session with several of our industry partners employers and graduates from the Alamo Academies program.  Participants of the roundtable included (pictured below left to right): Dr. Bruce Leslie, Chancellor, Alamo Colleges; Amy Gowder, Vice President & General Manager of Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions; Adam Arroyo, Alamo Academies graduate and current Lockheed Martin employee; Thomas Perez, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary; Sarah Escobar, Alamo Academies graduate and current Toyota AMT Student; Michael Emmelhainz, San Antonio Site Leader, Boeing Company; Peter John Holt, Vice President of Commercial Engine Sales; HOLT CAT and an Alamo Academies board member; and Gene Bowman, Executive Director, Alamo Academies.

Thomas PerezOf concern to most of the panelists is the lack of focus on promoting trade skills often found in career and technical education in the K-12 arena. “I am a younger man — I am 28 years old — and all through lower school, middle school and high school, not once did I ever get exposure, other than through weekends and summers working in the business, to vocational education, job training programs,” Holt said. “It was all dedicated to four-year institutions and four-year degrees.”   Secretary Perez echoed these sentiments and emphasized that today’s manufacturing is not the same as of decades before. “This is America 21st century manufacturing, and it’s cool,” said Perez.

Programs like the Alamo Academies and the AMT program highlight the multiple pathways to the middle class available for students today.

Additional coverage of this event is available at:–in-sa.html