AUSTIN, Texas — Workforce Solutions Capital Area publicly launched its "Hire Local" plan on Tuesday morning, alongside Austin and Travis County leaders. It also announced 1,000 new scholarships available for its workforce training programs.
The 1,000 scholarships are being funded by the City of Austin and Travis County. The scholarships are for trainings in the health care, manufacturing, information technology and skilled trades industries. People who are older and want to switch jobs, or people right out of high school, are able to apply. In order to be eligible for a scholarship you must:
- Be unemployed, work part-time, classify as low-income or not have a high school diploma.
- Live in Austin-Travis County and be authorized to work in the U.S.
You can apply for a scholarship here.
The agency said the goal of this new plan is to connect local people with the skills training that will allow them to land higher paying jobs.
"We are looking to make sure the employers that are in our region have a healthy talent pipeline," said Melanie Flowers, a board chair with Workforce Solutions. "Also, that the people that are in our region have career opportunities available to them."
These higher paying jobs are important, as right now many people cannot afford to keep living in Austin due to the increasing cost of living. Austin Mayor Steve Adler thinks this new effort will help people get the skills to get hired for the new jobs coming to the area, rather than companies hiring people from out of state.
"In this city, where it's getting more and more expensive for rent, more and more expensive for everything, to actually get trained and get a skill that we have jobs that are available," said Mayor Adler. "We have twice as many jobs available as there are people looking for the work right now."
He also acknowledged the increasing cost of living and need for these type of opportunities.
"We can keep what makes this community special, which is our people, if we can get the training for people to get the jobs that are here and available," said Adler.
Workforce Solutions leaders said that, on average, someone who goes through one of these programs will make $30,000 more per year than what they were making before.
During the event Tuesday, speakers addressed "workforce challenges and the affordability gap in Austin," as well as how this funding for the 1,000 new scholarships from Travis County and the City of Austin will help more local residents qualify for higher-paying local jobs.
Workforce Solutions CEO Tamara Atkinson, Board Chair Melanie Flowers and Vice Board Chair Mark Sherry were in attendance, as was Adler and Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion (Precinct 1).
Also there was Khalyl Woodson, who received a scholarship and is currently in the Patient Care Tech Program. He encouraged everyone interested in starting on the path to a new career to apply.
"They want you to know that they have these opportunities for you all," said Woodson. "They're here for you. That's the reason why they're an organization. So I really want people to reach out and just respond to them, see what they have to offer. You know, it might not be for you, but you never know."
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