City officials on Monday certified the Nov. 3 election results for the city’s ballot initiatives, setting into motion the workforce training plan that will retrain tens of thousands of city residents through 2025.
The “SA Ready to Work” ballot measure received 77 percent of the vote. In a special session, City Council approved a canvass of the votes that showed record voter turnout and strong support for a trio of propositions.
In addition to job training, voters approved sales tax funding for the Pre-K 4 SA early education program and a plan that will expand VIA metro transit’s funding after 2025.
On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio voters approve ballot measures for workforce development, transit & Pre-K
“These propositions represent an investment in people unlike we have ever done before,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future, despite the challenges that we’re all going through.”
Nearly 526,000 people in San Antonio — 63 percent of the city’s voters — cast a ballot on the workforce measure, according to City Clerk Tina Flores.
During the 2018 general election, which featured a vote on three charter amendments, 48 percent of voters in San Antonio cast a ballot. About 140,000 more people voted on the propositions in this year’s election compared with two years ago.
Roughly 77 percent of people who weighed in on the workforce training measure this year voted early, Flores said.
Moody’s Investor Services, a credit ratings agency, earlier this month cited the city’s job training program as a positive for San Antonio’s credit rating.
The city faces a budget hole from the drop-off in sales and hotel tax revenue caused by the pandemic, while major job losses in the hospitality sector this year have damaged a foundation of San Antonio’s economy.
The job training program should address both issues by boosting workers’ salaries and increasing economic activity, Moody’s analysts said.
“Increased employment and higher salaries will boost residents’ purchasing power and ultimately lift sales tax revenue, one of the city’s largest revenue sources,” they wrote in a note for bond investors.
On Dec. 2, City Manager Erik Walsh will detail for council members the roll out of the Ready to Work program.
The city’s voters “spoke to wanting to see the city of San Antonio rise, and not have that label that we’ve had of being the most poverty-stricken city,” District 2 Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan said.