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Good morning,

On behalf of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, we heartily welcome Tesla into the regional employment ecosystem in Central Texas. For generations, hard-working, hard dreaming Central Texans have made this a great place to create a career, raise a family, and support one another. In these tough economic times, Central Texans are excited to welcome an iconic American business success story to our community to work with us to write its next, successful chapter. We were proud to be asked to testify twice before our partners at the Travis County Commissioners Court and once with Del Valle ISD Board of Trustees.

After a strong June job recovery month, we look forward to new opportunities to help connect Travis County’s 55k unemployed workers to agile, rapid job training and supports — such as childcare, transportation, and employment services — in preparation for these roughly 5,000 job opportunities.

For generations, hard-working, hard dreaming Central Texans have made this a great place to create a career, raise a family, and support one another

Below, you’ll find the latest on the $600/wk pandemic stipend expiration, updated insights into what’s on the mind of Travis County’s jobless, and how a young Austinite is elevating his life with hands-on work in skilled trades. Please let me know if you have any questions.

In partnership, Tamara


A significant cut in take-home pay has now come for Austin’s jobless claimants, as new claims continue to rise in July

As of yesterday (July 25),the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit (FPUC), authorized through the CARES Act, expired.

  • FPUC provided an additional $600/wk on top of the state’s standard unemployment payments, which can range from $69-$521 per week, depending on an applicant’s former income.
  • On Friday, two rallies were held in Austin to call attention to this dilemma and to rally support for extending federal unemployment programs.

Reality check:

  • The end of the FPUC stipend will mean a significant cut in income for all jobless claimants. But this drop will be felt hardest by the 75% of Travis Co claimants who previously earned less than $50,000.
    • Half of Travis Co jobless claimants previously earned less than $30,000. When the pandemic stipend expires, Texas unemployment benefits will be more than cut in half for these folks.
  • Initial unemployment claims are also on the rise in Texas. There was a 7% increase in new unemployment claims in the first week of July, bringing the tally for the week to 117,000. In the first three weeks of July, there’s been an average of 121,000 new claims per week in Texas.
    • Last week, more than 1.4M U.S. workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits, the first time the weekly tally rose in more than three months.
  • With the rise in COVID cases and enhanced safety measures, these happenings may prompt an increase in the July unemployment rate.
    • A chief U.S. economist warned that unemployment could rise in the coming months with heightened risk “coming from temporary job losses that could become permanent.”

WFS sat with Council Members and media totalk Austin unemployment, the end of the pandemic stipend, and how we’re helping keep our struggling neighbors afloat:


68% of Austin’s unemployed say they are interested in retraining to a new career in updated WFS findings

WFS makes it a priority to interview and analyze responses to those who are jobless. We have processed more impacted worker survey responses to better inform our supports to Austin’s unemployed. Here’s what we know:

  • 78% of respondents said they are looking for employment.
  • 89% indicated they have the tools to learn or work from home.
  • 68% said they are interested in retraining to a new career.
  • See more insights in our 1-page summary.

‘Grow our own’:

  • Help us improve the Master Community Workforce Plan mission to upskill 2,000 employees by 2021.
    • Please take this surveyby the Ray Marshall Center at UT Austin, where you can anonymously report the number of employees you upskill each year.
  • WFS offers funding opportunities to partner with businesses that want to retain, grow, reskill, or upskill their workforce.
    • To learn more or apply, download our one-page info sheet, or just shoot me a quick email of interest.


‘I want to lead people to this program’: Desmond Roberson is elevating his life with hands-on work in the skilled trades

Last week, we celebrated 12 Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) graduates who earned their credentials in the 8th program in Austin through our training partnership with Local 286.

  • MC3 is a nationally recognized industry certificate that introduces students to the different building trades and teaches them the skills needed for a registered apprenticeship, debt-free.
  • All graduates were offered employment on graduation day as an electrician’s helper, plumber/pipefitter, laborer, sheet metal worker, fire sprinkler installer, insulator, or carpenter.
  • Ten out of 12 graduates in this cohort are under the age of 34. Four are Class of 2020 high school grads.
  • On average, program trainees can earn up to $15/hour during their first year as an apprentice and up to $70,000/year after completing a program, which takes two weeks and is free.

What they’re saying:

  • Desmond Roberson, a 2019 MC3 grad: “I grew up around a lot of people who made mistakes growing up. When I post work videos on social media, they see me and wonder how I am able to do this,” said Desmond. “If you have the will to better your life, the program is there for you.”
  • Read more about Desmond’s story here.

What’s next:

  • We’re pivoting to offer training online — one is the Certified Production Technician (CPT) training program held by the Central Texas Manufacturing Partnership.
    • Students will take online classes with ACC to earn a CPT credential from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC).
  • After trainees graduate, WFS will help graduates find work with one of the many companies in this high-demand industry, including Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Applied Materials, and NXP.
  • Apply for the August 10 cohort on our training partner Skillpoint’s website. You can recommend your friends and colleagues to me today.
    • To be eligible, applicants must be under 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Level.
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