Summary of Initiative
Growing a world-class competitive workforce is our business, and we listen and work closely with employers to help build a workforce that meets the needs of today. As one approach to our work, our team of Career & Education Outreach Specialists continue offering guidance to our region’s future skilled workforce, connecting schools and employers to support students in developing in-demand academic and technical skills for today’s workforce.
The importance of building a higher skilled workforce to fill in-demand roles such as those in tech, infrastructure/mobility, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and skilled trades/construction is even more apparent in today’s talent shortage. The demand for skilled workers is made more urgent by demographic shifts in the labor markets and increasing retirements.
Each summer, Workforce Solutions Capital Area partners with local school districts and employers from various industries for the Teacher Externship Program. Through this program, we’re able to:
- Strengthening relationships: Teachers are able to connect with local employers and get hands-on exposure to the high-demand skills, certifications and education required for a variety of high-wage, high-growth careers in Austin. Local companies’ employees are also able to connect with various community engagement opportunities.
- Develop in-demand skills: At the end of the program, participating educators develop an industry-led lesson plan to share with students in their classrooms.
Partnerships and Enabling Public Policies
In addition to the connections and data-informed curriculum created through the externship program to, the program also provides additional benefits to the schools and participating teachers. In 2022, we also partnered with Nepris to purchase licenses for career exploration software for teachers who do not have access to it through their ISDs. We also leveraged Texas Workforce Commission funding to provide $500 stipends to each educator who participated.
We have strengthened relationships with local school districts to connect with the next generation of skilled talent. Ninety-nine teachers and counselors connected with three-day externships. Districts represented include Austin, Cypress, Del Valle, Eanes, Elgin, Manor, and Pflugerville. Schools represented include Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Goodwill’s Excel Center. 28 employers hosted teachers. Employers include those represented on WFS’ board, such as Ascension Seton, Athena Manufacturing, and more. We look forward to continue this effort, raising awareness to our emerging workforce of quality career pathways.