3-minute read

Good afternoon Austin talent development allies,

What’s happening in our Austin metro job market:

  • Metro Austin is outperforming all major Texas metros with the lowest December 2020 unemployment rate at 5.1%. Dallas is 6.3%, San Antonio is 6.4%, Houston is 8%, and El Paso is 8.1%.  
  • However, Metro Austin’s unemployment rate is still nearly 2x our pre-pandemic levels, with 65,000 unemployed residents.
  • Manufacturing major driver of Austin’s economy: In the 12 months ending December 2020, Austin manufacturers had a job growth of 8.3%, diversifying locals’ opportunities.
  • Potentially more diversification to come: Austin Mayor Steve Adler and I spoke with Austin Monitor about how a potential Samsung deal could further boost middle-skill jobs for the already high-growth industry. (more below)
  • This validates our Community Workforce Plan focus: The industries targeted in 2017 for our Austin Metro Area Community Workforce Plan (IT, manufacturing, skilled trades, and healthcare) have remained in-demand throughout much of the pandemic.
  • Although outperforming all major Texas metros, we must advance the regional talent pipeline: Through RE:WorkNOW fast-track trainings like the Certified Production Technician program, WFS and partners offer safe, convenient courses for high-paying jobs in Austin’s most in-demand industries like manufacturing, with supports available like child care and digital inclusion. (more below)
  • More Austin relocations: Workout equipment company Eleiko relocated their U.S. headquarters to Austin from Chicago. Their president says the recent migration of companies to Central Texas was a key factor. This will further provide our neighbors opportunities, as several “face-to-face” industry sectors struggle to recover.

Also, congratulations to former Boston Mayor and U.S. Secretary of Labor nominee Marty Walsh for having his nomination move by a vote of 18-4 to the full Senate for confirmation.

🎙️ “This is not just an opportunity lost if we don’t help people get the skills for the jobs that are being created, it’s going to be a real drag on the economy. It’s going to mean a lot of suffering for a lot of individuals.” — Neil Bradley, executive VP and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Read more in Politico.

In partnership, Tamara.


The advanced manufacturing skills game in Austin’s economic rebound

According to Texas Workforce Commission data, Austin’s manufacturing industry is one of the fastest-growing in the region, second only behind Financial Services in the last 12 months ending December 2020. There have also been recent high-profile tech world expansions and relocations in Austin, including Tesla’s ambitious battery manufacturing facility in East Austin.

Why it matters: With the current demand for advanced manufacturing talent and more opportunities coming with the Tesla facility, there is a need to train Austinites previously employed in struggling industries to fill the talent gaps in our most in-demand fields.

Driving the news: Mayor Adler and I spoke with Austin Monitor on how a potential Samsung deal could further boost middle-skill jobs for the already high-growth manufacturing industry.

  • My take: The best chance for affordability and competitiveness for our local workforce is for us to accelerate skills education locally.

The big picture: Austin metro’s December 2020 unemployment rate of 5.1% is still nearly 2x pre-COVID levels.

  • We have a talent pool of at least 65,000 Austin metro residents to train for at least some of the opportunities in the high-growth manufacturing, construction, and business sectors that carried the Austin economy over the last year.

Between the lines: Since March, 37% of Travis County’s 167,000 jobless claimants were previously in “face-to-face” food service, retail, and personal care occupations.

  • Laid-off workers are unlikely to find stable jobs linked to their existing skills. Currently available talent with experience in high-growth industries like manufacturing and IT is relatively scarce.

Austin MSA’s manufacturing industry, by the numbers: (Sources: TWC, ARMA)

  • 5,200 jobs (an 8.3% annual growth) in the last 12 months ending December 2020.
  • 1 of 5 major industries in the Austin region to not lose jobs over the past year, along with both the skilled trades and construction sectors.
  • 64,000+ workers and makes up 5% of the Austin regional workforce.
  • 1,400 regional manufacturing businesses supply over 57,000 jobs.
  • $11.2B toward the regional GDP is provided by manufacturing businesses.

Bottom line: It’s a “skills game.” For the jobs we expect to be created in these growing industries, Austinites will need skills to qualify and move up in them.


WFS grows the regional advanced manufacturing talent pipeline

WFS connects local talent (including students) to scholarship programs and good jobs. One way we advance the talent development pipeline for manufacturing is through the Certified Production Technician (CPT) training program.

CPT is a 100% virtual, safe, no-cost training coordinated by the Central Texas Manufacturing Partnership. Eligible students take online classes with ACC and Skillpoint Alliance with an optional component held in-person safely.

  • Upon completion, you’ll receive a nationally recognized certification from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council that demonstrates to employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed for a manufacturing assembly job.
  • WFS 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!

Of note: CPT is offered within the RE:WorkNOW rapid training program, which helps struggling City of Austin and Travis County residents link to a diverse range of fast-track, no-cost training programs to enter our high-growth industries, leading to higher wages.

🔴 What’s next: The next CPT program begins March 1, hosted by Skillpoint Alliance.

  • How you can help: Please share this great opportunity with your constituents or a friend.

👍 Pair up with a Facebook-trained intern in 2021, wages covered by Workforce Solutions Capital Area

Facebook’s Career Connections program seeks Travis County businesses looking to expand digitally by hosting an intern in summer 2021!

WFS partnered with Facebook to help introduce their program to Central Texas.

  • Facebook will train and vet applicants while we cover their wages.
  • The program is designed to bolster local businesses’ success, train local workers for the 21st-century workforce, and develop career pathways to retain and strengthen our local talent pipeline.
  • The internship runs for 12 weeks, from mid-May to mid-August. Hosting the internship virtually or in-person is your choice.

Qualified businesses will receive:

  • An intern paid for, trained, and vetted by WFS and Facebook for summer 2021;
  • Exclusive virtual training, resources, and support;
  • Improved social media and digital presence;
  • Networking opportunity with businesses and peers; and
  • A $500 Facebook/Instagram ad credit.

❗  Amplify your online presence and connect with motivated local workers! Sign up today.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email