Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job, including training for in-demand occupations, with a variety of programs with public and private funding. Tony Gayles is a job seeker who has benefited from these training services, and today he is working a productive and satisfying job.
Tony has lived in Austin since 2005, when his family moved here from California. Tony is hearing impaired, which makes searching for a job challenging.
“Job searching for me comes with challenges that could put a cloud over employers seeing me as their prospective employee,” Tony said. “Their foremost thoughts may be how to communicate with me, would I pose a risk to others or myself, and the cost to accommodate my needs or surroundings.”
Tony has not let this challenge stop him from finding work, and in 2019 he came to Workforce Solutions Capital Area to search for a job: “When I first came to Workforce Solutions, I didn’t know what to expect but I was hopeful I would find a job that would match my experiences,” Tony said.
At Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s North Career Center, Tony met with Ruben Altamirano, a career counselor, and together they explored work and training opportunities available with funding from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program.
“Some of the services I’ve used here were computers for job searches and resume writing, a presentation on overcoming barriers, and ASL interpreting services,” Tony said. “Workforce Solutions also gives necessary information and support services to employers to help hearing-impaired job seekers like me find and keep a job.”
Tony also attended an information session to learn about a free manufacturing production training and paid internship to become a Certified Production Technician (CPT). He was one of 14 people in a pool of 78 chosen to participate in the inaugural Certified Production Technician Training Program funded by Texas Mutual Insurance Company and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and offered by Workforce Solutions Capital Area in partnership with Austin Community College and the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association.
“When I was selected to participate in the program, it was an amazing feeling to know that more doors would open up for me,” Tony said.
Tony began participating in the program in February, and earned his CPT certifications and completed his paid internship in March. During the program, he attended classroom training 12 hours per week at Austin Community College’s Highland Campus and worked 200 hours for a paid internship at Community Impact Printing for 40 hours per week. He maintained excellent attendance at both the training and on the job.
“The scheduling was tough especially with having two small children at home, but I’ve managed with help from my mother who cared for my children,” Tony said.
“The classes were nighttime, and the internship started early in the morning with eight-hour shifts. On some days after my shift, I would go straight to classes, which can be exhausting,” Tony said. “I brought coffee to class most of the time. I’ve learned many things, but most important were quality, safety, maintenance and production, which I’ve applied while working at Community Impact Printing.”
During his internship, Tony received many opportunities to apply his new knowledge and excel in a variety of roles.
“Over my first three days, I was rigorously trained for safety, including forklifting, and I’ve obtained my certificate to operate lift trucks. I was assigned different roles and I’m cross-trained to work in warehouse, mail table, inventories and cutter roles. There are more roles that I’m eager to learn in the future,” Tony said.
“Tony has been reaching his goals of being a hard worker and obtaining new skills, and he is growing with Community Impact Printing,” Ruben said.
Today, Tony is working part time at Community Impact Printing until he becomes eligible to work full time.
For other job seekers exploring similar opportunities, Tony offers this advice: “For anyone who chooses to take training like the CPT program, stay motivated and energized until you’ve completed your courses. Your reward will be to accept full-time employment.”