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Trailing Spouses-Job Hunting
plugging into the san antonio job market
Your spouse has just been offered a promotion that requires relocating to San Antonio. This is a wonderful opportunity for your family; however, it does pose a certain dilemma for you. You are now the “trailing spouse,” the person who follows a partner who is relocating to a new city. While your spouse is guaranteed a job, you are left to find one in an unfamiliar city. You have heard San Antonio has a burgeoning job market with a wide array of opportunities in a variety of fields. The bad news is you are unsure where to begin looking for your dream job. To assist in your job search, this chapter Relocating to San Antonio has been designed to guide you through the process. The following pages offer an overview of San Antonio’s current job market, primary employment sectors, industry growth and employment resources.

The San Antonio Job Market
In 2009, Forbes Magazine reported that San Antonio had the third-best job market in the country. This impressive job market is fueled by growth in the health care and bioscience industries, as well as the military and military contracting. Furthermore, the economy in San Antonio has been largely immune to the national economic downturn. As evidence, the current unemployment rate in San Antonio is 6.8 percent, which is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate. Finally, what little effect the economic downturn has had is quickly on the mend, as Forbes Magazine has ranked San Antonio second on its list of America’s Fastest-Recovering Cities.

Many Fortune 500 Companies are based in San Antonio including Tesoro Petroleum Corp., Valero Energy Corp., NuStar Energy, USAA and Clear Channel Communications. The area is also home to the corporate headquarters of large companies including H.E.B. Food Stores, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, Southwest Research Institute, Harland Clarke, Kinetic Concepts, Inc., and Taco Cabana. San Antonio’s four primary economic forces are government, health care, finance and tourism. Furthermore, the city maintains a diversified employment sector with key industries including:
  • Government.
  • Trade, transportation and utilities.
  • Educational and health services.
  • Professional and business services.
  • Leisure and hospitality.
  • Financial activities.
  • Manufacturing.

Government

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is one of San Antonio’s largest economic forces with a multi-billion dollar impact on the city’s annual economy. In 2006, the DoD’s estimated economic impact was more than $13 billion. This number is growing significantly thanks to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 which, is one of the largest economical development projects in San Antonio’s history. It is estimated that the BRAC will generate an additional $8.3 billion in positive economic growth through 2011 and a subsequent annual impact is estimated at $2.9 billion. The DoD is San Antonio’s largest generator of employment with an estimated 200,000 employees. The BRAC will support additional employment of more than 46,000 due to increased construction through 2011. After 2011, the BRAC’s impact will support the employment of more than 11,000 additional people.

The BRAC has already generated positive momentum in San Antonio’s construction industry. During the height of construction in 2009, there were more than 2,200 local construction workers employed across the bases. In 2009, more than $700 million in construction contracts were awarded and another $300 million in contracts is expected in 2010.

Health Care
The health care and bioscience industry is the dominant force in San Antonio’s economy, largely due to the 900-acre South Texas Medical Center. According to the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, one out of every seven employees in San Antonio works in the health care and bioscience industry. The industry has an annual economic impact of $16.3 billion and employs more than 116,417 people. Not included in these figures are the economic results of the Wilford Hall Medical Center and the Brook Army Medical Center. Together these two facilities employ more than 4,400 military medical personnel and 2,434 contract employees. In addition, the University of Texas Health Science Center employs more than 5,035 faculty and staff members.

Tourism and Hospitality
The tourism and hospitality industry has an annual economic impact of more than $11 billion, making it an integral part of San Antonio’s economy. One out of every eight employees in San Antonio works in the tourism and hospitality industry. The industry’s current workforce is comprised of more than 106,311 people. San Antonio is host to more than 20 million visitors per year, with over 700,000 of them attending an event at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is an economic force of its own, generating rental revenues of $4.3 million and $17.7 million in catering sales. Convention delegates spend more than $416 million in San Antonio every year. A total of 12,000 of the city’s 30,000 hotel rooms are located in the downtown area and near the convention center.

Finance
The most recent estimates indicate the financial service industry has an annual economic impact of $20.5 billion. The industry employs more than 50,000 people at some of the highest average salaries in the city. While the finance industry has been affected by the economic downturn, two of San Antonio’s banks, Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., and International Bancshares Corporation, the parent company of IBC Bank-San Antonio, recently ranked on Bank Director Magazine’s list of Top 150 Banks and Thrifts in the United States.

Upcoming Industry Growth
In 2009, many companies announced expansions and relocations to the San Antonio area. With this growth comes the addition of thousands of jobs. An overview of some of these upcoming jobs has been included to help you become familiar with these growing industries.

The manufacturing sector will is expected to see a boost in early 2010, when Toyota Motor Company hires 850 new workers to accommodate its Tacoma truck production at its San Antonio plant. The hiring is also expected to prompt a corresponding increase in new jobs at the assembly plant’s on-site suppliers. Also in the manufacturing industry, Caterpillar Inc., has begun construction on a $170 million engine assembly plant and will employ 1,400 people in San Antonio. The medical sector will also experience growth resulting from the planned expansion of Medtronic Inc.’s diabetes and equipment sales to San Antonio. The expansion forecasts the addition of 1,400 jobs in the next five years.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. plans to give a big boost to the financial and construction industries when its regional customer service center is completed in 2012. The construction alone will cost nearly $120 million and the service center will create 838 jobs. Transom Worldwide is also planning to open a customer service center in the area, bringing 125 immediate jobs and the potential for up to 600 future jobs.

San Antonio Aerospace plans to construct a $16 million hanger at the San Antonio International Airport bringing with it 100 new jobs in 2012 and 2013. Several other companies will be adding jobs including Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corp., which plans to increase its Port San Antonio employment by 130 workers. Affiliated Computer Services is also expected to add 300 jobs to its Port San Antonio site in 2010.

Employment Resources
As a trailing spouse, you may find that your partner’s employer can offer you relocation assistance including job finding services. Before you move, contact your partner’s Human Resource (HR) Department to see if these services are available. Often, it is most advantageous to contact the HR Department in San Antonio, as the local personnel may know more about the local job market. Also be sure to conduct your own preliminary research. Use the Internet to search for industries of interest and corresponding companies based in San Antonio. Visit national Web sites and search for jobs in the San Antonio area. Here is a selection of online resources:
Once you have arrived in San Antonio, take full advantage of local employment resources. Gather local newspapers and search through the classified ads. Visit area personnel and staffing agencies. Use networking to your advantage. Talk to people in the community and in your neighborhood. Visit the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Attend professional development association meetings to mix and mingle with industry contacts. San Antonio is home to many local chapters of professional associations, including the following:
If you are trailing a spouse who was relocated by the military, take advantage of the many military specific resources. Army OneSource (www.myarmyonesource.com) and Army Housing OneStop (https://onestop.army.mil) both provide information on civilian employment. U.S. Army Civilian Personnel (http://cpol.army.mil/) provides extensive information on civilian employment and opportunities to join the Army as a civilian. In addition, all of San Antonio’s military facilities offer relocation assistance, including employment services. More information on these programs can be found in the Military Presence chapter of this guide.

As a trailing spouse, you have been compelled to enter San Antonio’s job market. The experience can be intimidating at first, but the diversity of industries and the myriad of opportunities available in San Antonio should offer quick reassurance. Indeed, your adventure has just begun.
 
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