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Increasing rent is pushing some out of Austin. Workforce Solutions Capital Area wants to help

The average rent for an apartment in Austin is now over $1,500. That's why Workforce Solutions is trying to get people trained to land higher-paying jobs.

AUSTIN, Texas — With the continued growth in Austin, the cost of living is an issue for many people. Some locals are finding themselves in positions where they need to move out of the city to afford a house or apartment.

A new report from Apartment Data Services shows that Austin’s rent is the highest out of all the major cities in Texas. Here's a breakdown of the average monthly rent for the state’s biggest cities:

  • Austin: $1,535
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: $1,352
  • Houston: $1,162
  • San Antonio: $1,120

The above rent prices could get you around an 800 square foot apartment in each city.

Rent prices have also gone up within Austin. The average price of an apartment in Austin in 2019 was about $200 less per month than it is now.

Many people who are considered lower income are not able to find ways to live in Austin and are being pushed out of the place they call home due to rising rent prices. That is why Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers different training and certification programs to help people qualify for higher-paying jobs.

“What we are seeing is that Austin businesses are hiring,” said Jameson Cardenas, senior director of marketing and communications for Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “There are many opportunities available, but the main thing that we're seeing is that workers earn what they learn. And the challenge is that residents are motivated to fill these roles, but they just might not have the skills that are necessary to get jobs in those roles.”

   

This is a part of Workforce Solutions' Hire Local Plan, a component of the Community Workforce Plan that launched back in 2017. The goal is “to make living in Austin more affordable by improving economically disadvantaged residents’ access to better economic opportunities.”

“This was launched to address the affordability issues that we're seeing even today, that's pushing Austinites out of the community they love,” Cardenas said. “And whenever we launched this plan back in 2017, we still see today that we have as many good, high paying jobs in the region as we do workers, but they don't always match up.”

Workforce Solutions says people earn what they learn and results from the training have shown that.

“From 2016 to 2019, when people that were lower-income joined our training, they earned $30,000 more after training when we track their income,” Cardenas said. “So, we know that the wage increases are there. Their positions, they become more financially stable and that is why we find it so important to make people aware of the training opportunities available to them, and many are at no cost.”

Cardenas said Workforce Solutions offers programs for job seekers interested in IT, health care, skilled trades and manufacturing.

“These are the industries that there's been a considerable amount of growth and projected growth,” Cardenas said. 

He also said that these industries are ones where you can attain a higher pay grade with certifications.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area is also putting a focus on career preparedness and awareness for high school and college students, so that future jobs can be filled with local talent as Austin continues to grow.

WATCH: Boomtown: Pace of home sales in Austin area decreasing

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