4-minute read

Happy Easter Austin friends,

In this edition: A progress report of our RE:WorkNOW rapid training program, an Austin manufacturing job posting analysis showing an increase in semiconductor manufacturing demand, and how we’re filling the talent gap through our job training programs.

  • On our radar: President Joe Biden unveiled the $2T American Jobs Plan Wednesday, part of his Build Back Better agenda, which aims to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure, create well-paying, high-quality jobs, and make other domestic investments. 
    • The infrastructure package calls for $100B to strengthen workforce training programs as well as billions of dollars to repair the nation’s schools and community colleges.

🎙️“Our customers are forecasting significant growth over the next one to two calendar years. So the work is there … it’s already on the books. All we have to do is meet the increased demand that our customers have asked us to do. Right now, the No. 1 challenge is our workforce.” — Bill Johnson, founder of Athena Manufacturing LP. Read more.

In partnership, Tamara.

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📈 Progress Report: Strong employment outcomes through RE:WorkNOW rapid training program

While Austin metro unemployment is still 2x pre-pandemic levels, we see strong employment outcomesthrough our RE:WorkNOW rapid training program model.

  • RE:WorkNOW Phase 1 was launchedto help 260 lower-income, unemployed workers use this difficult time to retrain safely for new jobs in local companies which are rapidly adding payroll.
    • Courses are fast-tracked, offered at no cost, and eligible participants can get paid to train.
  • The City of Austin and Travis County used $3.1M in CARES Act money and general funds to fund it through September.

The big picture: In the pandemic era, WFS is experiencing a 10-fold increase in demand for our training offerings.

  • Yes, but: We have been working to meet demand. Since RE:WorkNOW launched in October, we enrolled more people in training in four months than we typically accomplish in one year.

First 150 days of RE:WorkNOW: As of March 24,

  • 585 engaged in our training pipeline;
  • 184 started training;
  • 66 completed training; and
  • 28 found employment.
  • More than half of those who have completed or are in training are people of color, in line with WFS’ other training programs.

Key employment outcomes:
Note: Wage data reflects 12 of the 28 grads who found employment (in the process of verifying the rest)

  • The average wage increase for RE:WorkNOW graduates who found employment is over $20K
    • The average post-program wage is $30,347 per year.
  • The immediate wage increase for employed completers is 100%.
    • Every training graduate who found employment was unemployed before they entered the program.

Of note: WFS serves homeless individuals at a historic rate with a high pre-COVID employment rate for this population.

  • We served 631 homeless individuals from June 2018 – July 2019  through all of our services. That’s 10% of our total customers served.

🔄 Please use our RE:WorkNOW Brand Kit to help spread the word about our no-cost, safe, and rapid training opportunities.


Austin’s semiconductor manufacturing sector leads the new year with an above-average hiring demand

To gauge ongoing local talent demand of our historically high-growth manufacturing sector,we conducted a job posting analysis for Austin manufacturing’s five major industries, looking at the last five years.

👁️ See the chart

Our takeaways:

  • There was volatility last year in the manufacturing industries, primarily with computer and peripheral equipment job postings, which includes larger companies like Dell. 
    • In 2020, many manufacturers experienced layoffs and hiring freezes to minimize the pandemic’s cost on these industries.
  • But in 2021, there’s an above-average uptick of job ads, especially for semiconductor and other electronic equipment component manufacturing.
    • This industry includes companies like Advanced Microdevices, Applied Materials, and Intel Corporation.

❗ Bottom line: Austin is recovering and opportunities are available now — if you have the skills.

  • Further investment in our high-demand training programs will yield benefits for future generations.

Worth your time: 

  • A JobsEQ projection over the next decade shows Austin’s ten most in-demand trade and manufacturing occupations will be short 2,830 skilled workers, which does not take into account new jobs from more recent developments like the Tesla Gigafactory.
  • Tesla will need more than 10,000 employees in the Austin area by next year, double its original estimate of jobs created at its rising factory in Travis County.


The Certified Production Technician Training program — offered through RE:WorkNOW — is a 100% virtual, safe, no-cost training coordinated by the Central Texas Manufacturing Partnership. 

Eligible students take online classes with Austin Community College and Skillpoint Alliance, with an optional component held in-person safely.

  • Upon completion, graduates receive a nationally recognized certification that demonstrates to employers that they have the knowledge and skills needed for a manufacturing assembly job.
  • Workforce Solutions helps graduates find work with one of the many local companies in this high-demand industry, including Samsung Austin Semiconductor. 
  • Entry-level technicians can expect to earn $15-20 an hour with opportunities for advancement and further training.

The next training will be held April 26 – June 4 (Monday – Friday) virtually through Skillpoint Alliance. 

  • Register herePlease share this opportunity with your constituents.
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