Officials with the city of San Antonio’s workforce initiative Ready to Work announced March 7 the launch of a pilot program that expands the program’s focus to prioritize community members connected to military service living throughout Bexar County.

According to a news release, the new pilot program allows active-duty service members who are transitioning to civilian life and live on military installations or housing located in Bexar County but outside San Antonio city limits to enroll in Ready to Work.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement that expanding Ready to Work is a chance for local employers to tap into a large talent pool of nearly 4,300 military members assigned across Joint Base San Antonio who transition out of the military each year.

“In addition, for the approximately 322,000 veterans in the greater San Antonio area, this is an opportunity for them to train for good-paying jobs and will encourage them to remain in San Antonio,” Nirenberg said.

Mike Ramsey, Ready to Work executive director, said the aim of the one-year pilot is to support and retain military-connected families in the local community while providing area employers with additional opportunities to fill critical vacancies with these individuals.

Military-connected people interested in participating can learn more about Ready to Work at the program’s website, which will be available for pilot program applications upon the launch of the initiative May 1.

“We are very excited about the potential benefit this will have on our veteran and military community here in Military City USA,” Ramsey said in a statement. “In addition, extending Ready to Work’s eligibility criteria to include military-connected individuals throughout Bexar County will provide an expanded talent pool for our ever-growing group of pledged employers.”

City officials said Ready to Work is designed to help remove financial, social and emotional barriers for qualified adults committed to earning industry-recognized certifications, or associate or bachelor’s degrees.

To date, Ready to Work has enrolled 1,413 San Antonians as participants and is partnering with 285 local employers who have pledged their support for the program, local officials said.

Expanded eligibility will include:

  • Active-duty service members transitioning to civilian life within 12 months of separation
  • Active-duty military spouses and dependents 18 and older (18-26 for dependent children)
  • Reservists and National Guard members
  • Veterans and disabled veterans
  • Veteran spouses and dependents age 18 and older (18-26 for dependent children)
The program provides the following services:
  • Tuition assistance aligned with targeted occupations in high-demand, well-paid careers
  • Support services and emergency assistance to ensure training completion
  • Job placement and retention services

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala, the city’s military and veterans affairs director, said San Antonio’s large military community and history continues to provide tangible benefits to the community at large with a skilled pool of active duty service members and veterans ready for a new career.

“This change will ensure a larger number of transitioning veterans and family members will be able to compete for good paying jobs and remain in our community,” Ayala said of the program expansion.