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In this edition: How local healthcare partners are creating a unified front through apprenticeships to address a skilled workers shortage, and a recap of Biden’s first budget request.

ICYMI: Our 2021 Incumbent Worker Training RFP is now open. Responses are due June 14, 2021.

  • Incumbent worker training serves to increase the competitiveness of the employee or employer. It’s designed to meet the specific requirements of an employer or group of employers to retain a skilled workforce or avert the need to lay off employees by assisting them in obtaining the necessary skills to retain employment.

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In partnership, Tamara.

1. TWC awards Workforce Solutions Capital Area $500,000 for the ApprenticeshipTexas Expansion Grant for 2021

To help address an exacerbated skilled healthcare worker shortage amid the public health crisis, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded a $500,000 ApprenticeshipTexas Expansion grant to Workforce Solutions Capital Area (WFS). The grant period began in April 2021 and will last for 18 months.

Details: WFS will partner with Austin Community College and Innovative Workforce Projects to expand Registered Apprenticeship programs for in-demand healthcare jobs such as medical assistant (MA), patient care technician (PCT), certified nursing assistant (CNA), and more.

  • This program is an opportunity for unemployed and underemployed residents to gain new skills valued by hiring employers. It also strengthens the Austin area’s economic competitiveness at the same time.
    • By becoming an apprentice,residents will increase their skill sets and their earnings and will be able to better provide for their families and lead more productive lives.
  • The program goal is to train 250 apprentices.

Why it matters: Healthcare is one of the Austin metro’s largest industry clusters. But even with all those positions, there are still gaps in employment.

  • Amid the pandemic, gaps in employment, cost of living, and turnover grew as healthcare needs changed, making it challenging to recruit new talent locally.
  • Expanding this apprenticeship program will help healthcare employers in Central Texas to continue providing safe and quality care to their patients.

Austin metro healthcare industry, by the numbers:

  • 100,000 people are in healthcare jobs in the Austin region.
  • 65,000 of those positions are considered middle-skill positions, with 6 occupations accounting for two-thirds of all middle-skill jobs.
    • The majority are RNs, nursing assistants, MAs, LPN/LVNs, and home health aides.
  • In a 2020Q4 Jobs EQ projection, over the next decade, the industry’s top ten most in-demand occupations are projected to be short over 4,000 workers, led by RNs with a projection of 1,950 needed. 
    • In other words, these jobs are projected to grow quickly, but since there are not enough residents earning certifications to meet the hiring demand, there is a shortage of talent.

What they’re saying:

  • Jacqueline Cline, an MA apprenticeship program grad at Baylor Scott & White Health, now a senior Certified Medical Assistant (CMA):
    • “Had I not known about this program, I would have never achieved becoming a CMA, and now becoming a senior CMA. This was definitely an opportunity that I am very blessed to have been able to do.”

What’s next: WFS can help area businesses grow with services including hiring assistance; grants for internships and onboarding; apprenticeship funding; upskilling grants and support; and layoff and outplacement assistance.

  • Learn more about our services for employers here. Please share with your constituents.

Go deeper.

2. Catch up quick: Biden’s first budget request

On May 27, President Biden released his full $6T federal budget proposal for FY 2022, which includes full details of the Administration’s priorities for both mandatory and discretionary spending, including spending details for both his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan that were previously released.

The big picture: The proposal is not binding, but is a reflection of the Administration’s priorities for the year and can serve to inform congressional negotiations over spending decisions and new policy proposals.

Notable inclusions in the FY 2022 budget proposal relevant to WFS programs include…

1. Expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities.

  • The budget proposes $285M for Registered Apprenticeships, an increase of $100M from the 2021 enacted level, to expand access to this proven model for historically underrepresented groups and diversify the industry sectors involved.
  • The American Jobs Plan will build on this investment with $10B over ten years to create one to two million new Registered Apprenticeship slots and to strengthen the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities.

2. Help workers find pathways to good-paying jobs.

  • The budget proposes an increase of $203M to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state grants to make employment services and training available to more dislocated workers, low-income adults, and disadvantaged youth who have been hurt by the economic fallout from the pandemic.

What they’re saying:

  • Labor Sec. Marty Walsh: “The president’s budget renews the Department of Labor’s commitment to help America’s workers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, find pathways to high-quality, good-paying jobs.”

Go deeper.

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