KLRU: Community Cooperation, Community Jobs
Workforce Solutions Capital Area, the City of Austin and Austin Community College have teamed up for a first of its kind local initiative. The focus: combining their resources to create a team focused on lifting up jobless or low-wage earning workers to employment that provides a living wage.
Tamra Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions, has summed up the scope of this plan. “The objective is that we want to move 10,000 people who are currently in our communities living at or below poverty. We want to move them out of poverty and into middle-skill – think of them as middle class jobs – by the year 2021.”
These three organizations are not new to job-search assistance, but it’s only with the newly defined Austin Master Workforce Plan that Workforce Solutions, the City and ACC have made it a mission to tackle this issue as a collective. Three large, separate entities coming together can be a daunting task! But along with welcoming on key partners (Del Valle ISD, Hays CISD, United Way and KLRU), this Master Plan is not only moving forward, it’s working.
By highlighting post-secondary pathways that don’t require advanced degrees, this community outreach serves two important goals.
The first is connecting local citizens with work that will actually support living in Austin. In a city where costs continue to rise, making enough to pay bills and save money is a game changer.
The second goal is paramount to this city’s day-to-day existence: filling vacancies in high-demand jobs that require certification or training. Careers like network administrator, pipefitter, master electrician, Salesforce expert, welder and nurse are all positions that are necessary for Austin (or any city) to function, but keeping up with the growth of our metropolis has been difficult for many businesses that require specialized staff. By providing incentives like tuition assistance, help with daycare and other support, the Master Plan has successfully connected hardworking men and women with education opportunities and meaningful careers.
KLRU’s American Graduate: Getting to Work project has captured some of the rewarding stories that have come out of the Austin Master Workforce Plan. Check them out here. “American Graduate tells the stories of people advancing themselves to gain a foothold in our local economy,” shares Congressman Lloyd Doggett. “We all have an opportunity and a responsibility to support our local workforce. I hope these stories inform and inspire us to support our neighbors seeking professional transitions.”