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Workforce expert shares three main reasons Central Texas is facing staffing shortages

One of the biggest reasons for the current staffing shortages, according to Workforce Solutions Capital Area leaders, is a skills gap.

AUSTIN, Texas — Due to Austin's low unemployment rate, the current job market is great for job seekers, but a struggle for companies.

This is because, right now, there are more job openings than job seekers, which has led to staffing shortages across many industries in Central Texas.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area leaders say one reason the remaining jobs are not getting filled is because of a skills gap.

They say 54% of jobs in Texas are considered middle-skill, which means more than a high school degree, but less than a college degree, is needed. But only 45% of Texans meet that criteria.

Workforce Solutions offers programs to help job seekers gain different certifications, but also says businesses that are struggling to hire right now should be more open-minded with their job posting qualifications.

“They often use education as a determinant to employability that can eliminate people who have the skills but can't afford or access the required degree,” said David Olson, the director of marketing and communications for Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

Olson said the other two big reasons we are seeing staffing shortages in Austin are concern over the omicron variant and the need for quality childcare.

Workforce Solutions has multiple offices in the Austin area to help connect employers to people seeking jobs, and they also have child care resources.

Olson also said upskilling is a tactic companies can use to fill higher-level positions. This means they can train their current lower-level employees to gain the skills needed for those positions.

“This is a creative tool to train and retain workers. It also targets underserved populations, those that are most likely to lack those skills, but have the motivation,” explained Olson. “We know that people don't have the means for post-secondary training, so upskilling within their organization can provide that bridge to higher skills and higher earnings.

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