Burleson Works for all involved
Alex Philips was all smiles Friday morning during signing day for the Burleson Works program.
The city of Burleson economic development manager hosted the event that saw five soon-to-be high school graduates from Johnson County school’s sign scholarships that will allow them to receive financial assistance for training at local technical schools or college and then they will have the opportunity to be placed directly into a position with a local Burleson company.
Philips read a quote - “if the opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
The Burleson Works program is the door the city built to help supply companies in Burleson with the manpower necessary to get things done.
Philips said that three years ago, industry, community and educational leaders in the Burleson came together and collaborated on creating a program that would afford individuals in our region an opportunity to connect with local employment opportunities through providing a scholarship to gain the skills needed to fulfill the requirements.
“What you are witnessing today is a culmination of that with Burleson Works,” Philips said. “We couldn’t do it without the team that we have - our industry partners, our chamber of commerce, the Texas Work Force Commission, all the educational partners, Hill College, Texas State Technical College, and Tarrant County College. All of those have come together to reach a common goal of filling the needs for our industry here in town.”
Burleson Mayor Ken Shetter said that Burleson Works is one of the best things that the city does.
“When you combine Burleson Works with the Burleson Opportunity Fund,” Shetter said. “I will go out on a limb and say you won’t find another community anywhere that is as committed to making sure that all its citizens have the opportunities that they need to succeed and to make sure that our businesses have the opportunity that they need to succeed.”
The program is something that city leaders can show to businesses that are thinking about relocating to Burleson, Shetter said.
“This is part of our economic development strategy,” Shetter said. “When businesses look to relocate they are looking for the human resources available in Burleson.”
Shetter added light-heartedly that the city and future scholarship recipients are counting on the five who signed Friday.
“To all of you who are signing on today, know that you are the most important economic development strategy that we have in the city of Burleson,” Shetter said. “So no pressure, but your success is going to determine the future of the city of Burleson, not completely. As a community, we are counting on you because we can only continue programs like this as long as they succeed. So tomorrow’s recipients are depending on you to succeed in this program so that we can continue to justify this investment.”
Three of the signees are from the Burleson ISD.
Zachary Largent, who will graduate later this month from Burleson High School, will work at KSW Manufacturing Company, Ltd., as an engineering intern. Largent has been interning at the company during his senior year.
“I think Burleson Works is a fantastic deal,” Largent said. “I don’t think there is anything better than this. You are getting experience, you are getting your college paid and getting a giant opportunity.
Once I graduate, they will give me an interview but that doesn’t mean I will be hired.”
Largent plans to get an associates degree from Hill College then attended Texas-Arlington in pursuit of Bachelors in Engineering degree. While interning at KWS, Largent said he worked on several projects along with printing lots of things and making many copies.
“I got general advice along the way about what I should do in college,” Largent said.
Centennial High School had two seniors sign: Colby Stacy and Josiah Kline. Stacy, who wants to be a diesel mechanic, will work at Wagner-Smith Equipment Company after completing his degree at Texas State Technical College in Red Oak. Kline will be working towards becoming a plumber thanks to a scholarship from the Vernon Devault Plumbing Company.
Stacy said he first heard about the Burleson Works program when Philips came to speak during his welding class at Centennial. Following the presentation, Stacy was intrigued by the program and talked with his parents about it.
“We thought it was a really good opportunity,” Stacy said. “It’s something I wanted to do. I wasn’t necessarily looking at a four-year college, I wanted to go to work. This is going to benefit me working and going to school at the same time.”
The other signees want to become welders. Godley senior Stephanie Admire signed with Hayes & Stolz Industrial Manufacturing Company and Venus senior Ben Sanchez will be learning welding skills at KWS.
Burleson Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson was beaming with pride Friday after seeing three of his students find their path in life.
“I’ll tell you what, two of these men that signed today, both of them have found a place where they belong,” Jimerson “Colby wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do and once this opportunity arose he has been a new kid. I was talking to his mother yesterday and she said that to see this boy excited, to see a future, to see an opportunity to do something that he likes to do, it’s exciting for him.”
Jimerson said that seeing a young man find a place that he is passionate about is exciting.
“Zach has been working at KWS for a year and obviously he’s done well,” Jimerson said. “He’s had a year-long interview so to speak. To be able to work for them and get his schooling paid for on top of that, that’s what we aspire to do for all these kids.”