2-minute read

Good afternoon Austin friends —

What’s happening in the Austin metro job market:

  • Last week, we formally launched Phase 1 of the RE:WorkNOW initiative (more below), where we are reaching out to tens of thousands of jobless Travis County residents via earned media, radio, email, digital media, and video to help them rapidly link to a diverse range of training programs.
  • Travis County’s unemployment tally is nearly 50,000. Higher education enrollment is — at best — flat, so folks who are unemployed are hunkered down. On the plus side, CKD announced a new manufacturing operation. On the negative side, Alorica announced a Dec 31 closing of a 700-person operation in South Austin.
  • Next Friday, we’ll share the latest TWC unemployment report for Travis County. TWC’s last report showed the unemployment rate month-over-month in Travis Co rose from 5.7% in August to 6.6%, or roughly 50,000 jobless, in September.
  • Travis County bars will remain closed through at least Nov 17 as the moving average of COVID-19-related hospital admissions and cases has doubled since early October.
  • The most open jobs in the Austin metro area are in IT and healthcare, especially compared to the number of unemployed who were previously in these fields.  
  • Skilled trades and advanced manufacturing also remain strong in the COVID economy, especially with company relocations like Tesla’s projected to bring more jobs and companies to Austin than expected (more below).
  • So, we have open jobs if we can encourage the unemployed and underemployed to enroll in rapid training. You can help by personally advertising the RE:WorkNOW opportunity and Austin Community College’s 50% off rapid training programs to your constituents, friends, and neighbors.
  • Under current law, expanded unemployment support (i.e., PUA, PEUC) provided through the CARES Act is due to expire on Dec 31, meaning workers who have exhausted their regular benefits or are not typically eligible for unemployment benefits will no longer receive payments.

Also, we’re so thankful for all who made our Trade Up Texas hiring event on Thursday a success. This annual event — part of an award-winning campaign — helped students and job seekers explore skilled trade careers with numerous Central Texas employers. Many thanks to Texas Mutual for making this possible, and partners KVUE, Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, Local 286, and Austin Regional Manufacturing Association. 

Below, get in on an exclusive conversation with Tesla on recharging our local manufacturing industry, the latest news on the RE:WorkNOW effort, and an upcoming event supporting area childcare providers (big thanks to our friends at Bank of America).

In partnership, Tamara


Exploring Tesla’s drive to recharge manufacturing in Central Texas

On Thursday, we partnered with Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area and Texas Workforce Commissioner Aaron Demerson for a special conversation with Tesla. Workforce Solutions Capital Area couldn’t be more excited to have Tesla growing rapidly in our backyard, and we look forward to years of partnership.

Highlights: We explored how Tesla’s upcoming Austin Gigafactory will help enhance the Central Texas manufacturing industry and how we can create upskilling opportunities and prepare our local workforce for these high-demand roles.

  • Workforce Solutions Boards are equipped to be the hub for education, economic development, and employment for relocating companies like Tesla and their supply chains.
  • Tesla needs a diversity of talent in the manufacturing realm.
    • “The access to talent at all levels was a key separator” in Tesla choosing Austin for the facility, thanks to the work of local workforce boards.
  • Del Valle ISD has the “ethic, thought process, and fundamentals” to move students from first learning of engineering, production, and manufacturing to landing real jobs.
    • Special recognition went to Dr. Annette Tielle, DVISD superintendent and WFS Capital Area board member.
  • Read more in the Statesman’s coverage.

What they’re saying:

  • Rohan Patel, senior director of public policy and business development atTesla, noted that60-70% of the jobs Tesla will fill in Austin are production associates and other entry-level positions.
    • These jobs need only “a high school degree and work ethic” with a willingness to learn. Entry-level positions may not even require a high school degree.
  • TWC Commissioner Aaron Demerson: “Tesla is not only impacting the local community with jobs available for the Austin area but also impacting local businesses to have more opportunities as well.”
  • Paul Fletcher, CEO at Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area: “The arrival of Tesla creates another level of excitement and engagement that will benefit all supply chains and companies in the region.”

▶️ Watch the full event here.


FOX 7 Discussion: New rapid training effort to help with unemployment

I sat down with FOX 7’s Mike Warren on Tuesday to help drive the conversation on Austin employment and how we’re helping connect neighbors to rapid training, childcare, and jobs.

Driving the news: WFS officially launched RE:WorkNOW Phase 1 to connect 260 of the City of Austin and Travis County’s approximately 50,000 jobless residents to job training adapted to the new economy. This effort is part of the Austin Metro Area Community Workforce Plan.

  • Tons of supports are available while you train, including no-cost training, $200/week stipends, career advising, placement, and more.
  • No-cost online and hybrid courses only take 6-12 weeks, are aligned with industry expectations, and will result in better jobs at better wages.
  • RE:WorkNOW quickly bridges the talent gap for industries that are still growing the Austin economy.
    • The most open jobs in the Austin metro area are in IT and healthcare. We also see more gains in skilled trades and advanced manufacturing. See my previous report for a breakdown of Austin job market talent demand.
  • Visit reworknow.org/austin to learn more about RE:WorkNOW courses and take a career assessment.

▶️ Watch the FOX 7 interview.

▶️ Watch the Telemundo Austin interview that aired Thursday with WFS Career Center Manager Roberto Pérez.

How you can help: Use our RE:WorkNOW Brand Kit to help spread the word about our no-cost, safe, and rapid training opportunities. Please reply to me here with any questions or requests.

What’s next: To fund RE:WorkNOW Phase 2, federal stimulus efforts will need to provide workforce development, state, and local funds to assist in stimulating the economy.


WFS to host PPE and cleaning supplies curbside pickup events for child care providers on November 20-21

As the foremost local, public funder of childcare, WFS will host two curbside pickup events for child care providers in the Austin metro area to receive PPE and cleaning supplies at no cost on November 20 and 21 at the First Workers Day Labor Center in Austin.

  • Child care providers in Travis County who contract with WFS to serve childcare subsidy families can sign up to receive bath tissue, hand soap and sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and more.
  • Bank of America donated 200,000 face masks for providers at this event, contributing to the safe care of our children.
  • WFS has contracts with 385 providers to provide care for 3,000 children in Travis County.
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