2023 was a monumental year for our local workforce and Workforce Solutions Capital Area! We want to celebrate some of the great work done for our community connecting local people to local jobs. Looking ahead, our goal is to continue making a positive difference in the lives of job seekers and employers. Here’s a recap of some of our top moments from 2023, presented in no particular order.

1. We were awarded $75,000 by Texas Workforce Commission for a 2023 Child Care Employment Connections Award

We were honored to be recognized by TWC for our critical support to help Austin-Travis County parents. This performance-based award recognizes local workforce development boards for their work in connecting at-risk parents with sufficient employment.

Why it matters: The Child Care Employment Connections Awards recognize boards that were the most successful in helping make employment connections for unemployed parents whose children are receiving child care assistance.

In 2023, we provided child care scholarships to over 6,600 local children. See more impacts.

2. Our healthcare partner Baylor Scott & White Health won the 2023 Large Employer of the Year Award from the Texas Workforce Commission

We were happy to celebrate Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH) with Mark Sherry, Vice President of Human Resources at BSWH and vice chair of the Capital Area Board of Directors, at this year’s Texas Workforce Commission Workforce Conference in Houston.

Why it matters: BSWH is one of the three largest hospital systems in Central Texas and has been instrumental in leading the charge for identifying and addressing severe occupation shortages in healthcare, not only for their own organizational needs but for the region. Through their participation in Capital efforts including apprenticeships, upskilling, K-12 engagement, and the awarding of a Texas Workforce Commission grant for healthcare jobs expansion, BSWH has been a key industry partner for Central Texas.

3. We launched a partnership with Austin Transit Partnership to develop Austin’s mobility workforce

Earlier in 2023, WFS and Austin Transit Partnership announced a partnership to develop Austin’s workforce to accommodate the expanding infrastructure projects in Central Texas.

Why it matters: Through this collaboration, we helped create the region’s first Mobility + Industry (M+I) Sector Partnership and Workforce Infrastructure Action Plan to build skilled talent from within the Austin community to meet the employment demands of the region as Project Connect progresses. The M+I Sector Partnership brings recommended oversight opportunities for infrastructure funding, enabling efficient and productive means to align workforce development resources through mobility, transit and infrastructure projects.

Of note: The partnership kicked off in April with Workforce Solutions analyzing the community’s mobility and infrastructure workforce ecosystem. The work included a comprehensive study on the supply and demand of occupations in construction, skilled workers and related industries. Additionally, contained an assessment of current worker availability, job training capacity, academic readiness of job seekers and more.

Read the study: Central Texas’ first-ever labor and demand forecast for the M+I sector, initiated to inform the region’s action plan for connecting local people to the thousands of jobs and careers created by the M+I industries.

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4. We hosted local and national experts and job creators for Austin’s Mobility + Infrastructure Workforce Summit

To address the current and future workforce need, Workforce Solutions Capital Area and partners Austin Transit Partnership and CapMetro hosted ‘Moving Forward: A Mobility and Infrastructure Workforce Summit’ last month.

Why it matters: The summit featured findings from Central Texas’ first-ever mobility workforce study and panel discussions with local and national experts and job creators regarding the region’s action plan for connecting local people to the thousands of jobs and careers created by the mobility and infrastructure industries.

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5. We connected industry to the classroom with the teacher externship program

Since 2019, our Teacher Externship Program has strengthened relationships with local school districts and supports students in developing academic and technical skills required for the workforce.

Why it matters: According to E3 Alliance data, 12% of young adults without a credential, certification, or degree within 6 years of high school have a chance of earning living wages.

By the numbers: Since launching the program, we’ve connected 263 educators from seven ISDs and Travis County charter/public schools to 83 unique employers. Top industries represented include manufacturing, skilled trades, healthcare, tech, and hospitality/business.

Q2 is grateful for the opportunity we had to connect with local educators through the Workforce Solutions Capital Area externship program. Investing in education and workforce preparation is core to our mission of building strong and diverse communities, and we were truly impressed with the commitment and passion of the educators who were placed with Q2. We look forward to working with Workforce Solutions in the future, and partnering together with educators to prepare our future workforce to tackle the dynamic industry challenges of tomorrow.”

Kim Rutledge, Chief People Officer at Q2

In 2023, we served over 17,000 students with career activities in and out of the classroom such as career exploration events, field trips to industry work sites, summer internships and more. See more impacts.

Learn more about the Teacher Externship Program.

6. We held the CareerQuest Youth Expo

On December 5, Workforce Solutions Capital Area and Education Service Center Region 13 held CareerQuest, an engaging and immersive career exploration expo for 7th-grade middle school students in Travis County. This event brought hands-on explorative experiences to students to help them discover their areas of interest and what options are available to them in middle school, high school, and post-graduation.

By the numbers: 1,800 bright minds from Austin, Del Valle, Elgin, Manor, and Pflugerville ISDs exploring the endless career possibilities of Austin’s hot job market in tech, healthcare, manufacturing, skilled trades, and mobility + infrastructure.

See our recap video with students and teachers sharing how they’re more aware of in-demand career pathways.

7. At the Child Care Symposium, providers received opportunities to learn and connect

Growing the future skilled workforce of Central Texas involves providing quality child care to eligible parents living and working in our community. To achieve this essential goal, Workforce Solutions Capital Area hosts the annual Child Care Symposium for child care directors, owners and workers in Central Texas.

Why it matters: For the 471 early learning professionals who participated, the Child Care Symposium provided valuable learning opportunities and moments to connect with one another.

I feel so truly blessed to call you all not only mentors but I feel like more of a close friend. We are all so blessed to have each of you on our side as we help the children in our communities thrive to be the future of the world. Thanks again for your dedication and your support.”

Irma Arrambide, owner/director at A New Day Child Development Center

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8. We partnered with Dwyer Workforce Development and ACC to make nursing certification attainable for nontraditional students

Dwyer Workforce Development will support students in their journey to become certified nurses at no tuition cost through a new partnership with Austin Community College and Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

Why it matters: Our partnership aims to help remedy a local healthcare worker shortage while providing upward mobility for aspiring nurses. Entry-level career pathways, offered through the new Dwyer Scholars program, are vital to the operation of facilities and pave the way to upskill workers to fill crucial higher-skilled roles.

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9. We announced a partnership with Amplify Credit Union

Helping Austinites access local jobs and resources to live and thrive in our community is what we do. We’re proud to partner with Amplify Credit Union to increase access to banking services and deliver custom benefits for our clients and employees.

Why it matters: Our clients are traditionally those most likely to be negatively impacted by systemic inequities, such as those found in banking. Thanks to the trailblazing work of Amplify, this partnership is a new avenue to close that gap and alleviate the barriers that banking fees can have to economic independence and success for so many in our community.

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10. We were awarded a $100,000 grant from Texas Mutual grant for workforce development

Grant funds from Texas Mutual Insurance Company expanded students’ skills training opportunities with Pflugerville Independent School District. Workforce Solutions is one of 57 recipients of Texas Mutual’s annual workforce development and training safety grant.

Why it matters: Through this grant, Workforce Solutions and Pflugerville ISD expanded the district’s Manufacturing Pathway program by purchasing equipment needed for their program and train students to enter Austin Community College’s Manufacturing Academy. Austin Community College will provide dual credit courses to participating Pflugerville students enrolled in the advanced manufacturing career and technical education pathway. The Austin Regional Manufacturers Association will act as industry advisor and convene industry partners to advise the district on what to teach and provide work-based learning experiences for students.

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