With more than 2 and a half million jobs available in the technology market, a new technical academy is preparing to train local residents in those fields to ensure they receive the best job possible.
Valley Technical Academy, housed inside Mission’s Center for Education and Economic Development Building, will be starting a 12-week program Monday, Jan. 15 that offers lessons in web development, programming fundamentals for creating apps and courses on designing websites and apps.
“Our mission is to be the largest influencer of employment in the Valley, period.” Founder Jim Smith said. “Our goal is to create jobs, we’re connecting high potential individuals with high potential careers and educating them and training them on how to perform in those careers.
According to Smith, jobs in the fields of web application development, user experience design and mobile application development are among the most in demand positions available. Despite this, he believes less than 100,000 individuals will graduate from schools or universities with the skills needed to fill those positions.
“We’re attempting to fill in that gap of 2 and a half million people needed for those positions,” Smith said. “When there aren’t people with the right skills for those jobs, those jobs go overseas. We’ve got a population of about one and a half people in the Valley, so we can fill in those jobs by training everyone here. We’re focused on getting as many as we can get through the system.”
Students wanting to enroll in the program must pay a fee of $10,500 dollars. However, students can receive financial assistance from a grant or go through a payment plan to cover the cost of the program. Once they go through the program, Smith says the students can come back for more classes due to Valley Tech’s “Student for life” philosophy where they can retake the program or take new courses at no additional cost.
Due to the experience and portfolio that students will create during this course, Smith said within a few years students will be able to find a job with a starting salary of $55,000, a far cry from the median $31,000 average salary for an individual in an entry level position.
The first program begins Jan 15 with the enrollment deadline set for Sunday, Jan. 14. Summer classes, aimed primarily for high school and college students as well as teachers, will begin Monday, June 11 and Monday, Oct. 8 will bring in a fall semester for new students.
The classes are open to all individuals and run from Monday through Friday starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.
Smith said the rigorous schedule is part of Valley Tech’s way of developing their skills in class.
“We give everyone a cognitive aptitude test that tells us how they think, see the world and what their strengths are,” Smith said. “We then talk to that individual and tell them what their cognitive skills are and what they need to develop. The only way they can develop is by showing up here every day and be here all day. You’re not allowed to miss a class. You’re not allowed to be late, you’re here every day on time to be a responsible human being.”
The Mission Valley Tech location is the inaugural campus for the academy and Smith says there are plans to spread their locations to the cities of Harlingen, Weslaco, Brownsville and Rio Grande City within the next five years. Each location is designed to have up to 225 students.
Those seeking to apply can do so at http://www.valleytechnicalacademy.com/