WACO, Texas (FOX 44/KWKT) — “So many things have ebbed and flowed in how education works, and skilled laborers were at a deficit,” says City of Waco District 1 Council Member Andrea Barefield.

The Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy Public Magnet School, or GWAMA, serves 10th-12th grade students seeking an intensive focus on learning trade skills.

“We opened the academy ten years ago. So, today is the celebration of ten years of the academy,” says GWAMA Executive Board Member Curtis Cleveland.

As the greater Waco area grows, so does the need for skilled workers. With industry support from all over McLennan County, students are guaranteed a job in the workforce as soon as they graduate.

“There’s a number of industries here today who have been hiring those graduates and who will continue to hire those graduates. GWAMA has become a pipeline for workforce opportunities for children in high school,” shares Cleveland.

The academy has been preparing students from school districts across the region for construction, welding and manufacturing trades for a decade. Congressman Pete Sessions attended the celebration, and funds raised at the event will benefit student scholarships for certification exams.

As for the future growth of GWAMA and its students…

“It is my pleasure to issue this proclamation that reads, ‘I, Dillon Meek, by the virtue of authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Waco, do hereby proclaim Sept. 7, 2023, as the tenth Anniversary of the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy, GWAMA Day.'”

GWAMA Executive Board Member Curtis Cleveland adds, “If you think you’re going to want to go to work or need to go to work out of high school, you come to GWAMA and you learn a skill. There will be a job ready for you.”

A big congratulations to community members and educators who have made the GWAMA program what it is today on this ten-year milestone.