Pictured: Melvin Granger, Dixie Iron Works Finance Controller, sat with Human Resources manager Brook Buterbaugh and WorkSource trainee Gabriel De Los Santos at the luncheon in honor of their companies' commitment to employment opportunities. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Receives WorkSource Opportunity Award

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Dixie Iron Works, Ltd. was honored Thursday afternoon at the WorkSource First Employer Awards Luncheon at the Richard M. Borchard Fairgrounds because of the company's track record with WorkSource's Business Services Staff to provide training opportunities for members of the workforce of South Texas.

The company received the Workforce Opportunity Award.

Brook Buterbaugh, human resources manager with Dixie Iron Works, accepted the award, along with Gabriel De Los Santos, a trainee at Dixie who was found through the Worksource program.

Buterbaugh said the major benefit of working with WorkSource is that the program allows them to bring inexperienced people in and give them training.

"We can help them build a career, hopefully for a long employment. The advantage to us is that we are training people from the ground floor," Buterbaugh said. "It's very valuable, because we are working on the basis that (WorkSource) is paying for half the employees' salary for the training period. So it is a very valuable source for us from an economic standpoint. They are also working with us on some other things to enhance the skills of our other employees. They are there for us when we need them."

Jim Wells County Judge L. Arnoldo Saenz said WorkSource helps with job training in a 12-county area.

"We bring money through the federal government, through the state, to be able to provide training for our workforce and be able to advance some of the people out there who want to further their skills. The main thing is that we partnership with some of the employers in the area and provide them with incentives such as training costs. It's a win-win for everyone in the area," Saenz said.

As for the award going to Dixie Iron Works, Saenz said he was proud to be able to recognize its contributions through the WorkSource program.

"Dixie Iron Works is vital, not just to our county, but to the region. They're a major player. They do a great service for us," Saenz said.

Virginia Garcia, with WorkSource, said every day there are employers who help their communities, but are rarely recognized. An event like Thursday's gives Garcia and others at WorkSource the opportunity to thank them for the job they do. Garcia said without them, WorkSource couldn't produce job seekers.

State Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles was also at the luncheon to show her support to Worksource employers. She said by partnering with other organizations for economic development, it makes the area that much stronger.

"I think it's important for us to partner with the 12 different counties through WorkSource," she said. "It's wonderful that we're doing this and coming together as a region to provide jobs and opportunities.

"We need to look at job opportunities and growth as a regional concept, which is something I have been working towards in the state legislature. I work very closely with the delegates of the Coastal Bend to provide jobs, opportunities, grants and economic development to the region as a whole. When we partner with other people, it just makes us stronger."