With about 8,000 working musicians in Austin, this talented workforce is important to growing Austin’s hospitality and tourism industries and strengthening Austin’s reputation as a destination city. Serving as the trusted voice of Austin’s musicians is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called Austin Texas Musicians (ATXM).
Pat Buchta is ATXM’s Executive Director and one of three members on ATXM’s board of directors. Along with the 20 volunteers on ATXM’s Musicians Advisory Panel, they act as the voice for thousands of local musicians.
“We started this mission about a year and a half ago to identify the needs of our music community and how to support them in Austin’s ever-changing landscape,” Pat said. “It’s become more unaffordable for musicians to stay here so we lose musicians when they move away—the very backbone that Austin identifies with is starting to diminish.”
In spring 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept into Austin, venues closed their doors without the certainty of knowing when the music would resume. ATXM partnered with Workforce Solutions Capital Area to support Austin’s musicians and help live music return.
Speaking to Austin’s musicians to give them the info they need
ATXM launched a series of live broadcast shows in the evenings called Night Shift, with a focus on how to help musicians with receiving unemployment benefits or finding gigs during the pandemic.
To do this, Pat connected with Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer at Workforce Solutions Capital Area. “Tamara came on the show and we started to build this amazing relationship almost immediately,” said Pat. “Tamara asked, ‘What can we do to support our musicians?’”
By partnering with ATXM, Workforce Solutions could speak directly to Austin’s musicians and keep them informed about changes to unemployment benefits, work search requirements, and more.
Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, spoke about how Workforce Solutions can assist Austin’s musicians on Night Shift on April 29, 2020.
Appearing on Night Shift also presented an opportunity to promote RE:WorkNOW. This rapid training effort, launched in late 2020 in partnership with the City of Austin and Travis County, is designed to assist 260 jobless residents connect to no-cost, rapid, and safe training. We restructured our training and support model to rapidly prepare residents for a new career in one of Austin’s growing industries. Enrollees in RE:WorkNOW training courses receive $200 weekly stipends, career advising and placement. Childcare, transportation, and digital inclusion are also provided as needed.
Robin Spilman with Workforce Solutions Capital Area spoke about the RE:WorkNOW program on Night Shift on December 10, 2020.
“We did a show talking with U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett and Workforce Solutions joined us to talk about RE:WorkNOW,” Pat said. “This is a great opportunity for musicians to get trained on new job skills and the great benefits that come along with that training.”
Pat added, “Workforce Solutions continues to join us for live discussions with our groups and it continues to be a very valuable resource for educating our community.”
Custom job lists for a talented workforce
Along with providing updates to unemployment benefits provided by the State of Texas and additional federal benefits, Workforce Solutions creates job lists for musicians seeking a different line of work until they can perform again.
Our Business Solutions team creates tailored job lists for ATXM to provide for ATXMPRO members. “Every working musician out there we can identify who make their income mostly from live music now receives these tailored lists every week, lists just for them,” Pat said.
“The tailored lists have great work-from-home positions and positions that fulfill our members’ skill sets, like music teacher or instructor positions, that our audience is very excited to hear about,” said Pat. “Our members tell me it’s exactly what they need and that they look forward to it every week.”
Connecting with employers through virtual job fairs and video tutorials
ATXM and Workforce Solutions’ shared mission to support Austin’s musicians exists in a virtual space as well, with ATXM members regularly invited to participate in virtual hiring events with local employers and find job-searching tips in videos created by Workforce Solutions.
“We share Workforce Solutions’ video content, like how to prep resumes and interviews, so our members are fully prepared at job interviews to take the next step,” Pat said.
“It’s very helpful to know we can let our musicians know they can come to these virtual events, safely at home, and meet all these potential employers and see where they fit in,” said Pat.
“We are so humbled and so honored that Workforce Solutions takes the time each week to focus on helping our community. It’s truly inspiring to know you guys are here for us.”
United together to make a positive difference
Live music is a part of what makes Austin, Austin—and assisting our musicians until the pandemic ends and beyond is an important part of how Workforce Solutions supports our community.
“Without this assistance, a lot of musicians would not have the jobs and resources they need to put food on the table,” Pat said. “When they can’t do what they trained to do, what their profession is, they must look elsewhere for income—and Workforce Solutions has stepped up and provided this for us in every way possible.
“Our partnership has been one of the greatest things in helping our organization grow. Post-pandemic, I think this is something we will always have a need for,” Pat said, “and I would love to see us continuing in this direction and working together.”
Standing with Austin’s businesses and workforce
Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s Business Solutions Team offers many services to assist businesses in Travis County to grow and strengthen their workforce. Learn more about how we can support your organization at our Employers page.