Workforce Solutions Capital Area CEO Update (July 6-12, 2020)

12 Jul

2-minute read

Good morning,

In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. Less than half of the respondents indicated they had a solution for this.

Austin has a rare chance for the current jobless and your employees to reskill, re-engage, and come out of this pandemic stronger. With 90% of Austin’s unemployed having access to participate in online training and with most interested in career reskilling, this is the ideal time to help workers reskill through virtual/online platforms so impacted Austinites are ready to return to the workforce.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area will continue to partner with industry leaders like Austin Regional Manufacturing Association (ARMA) to bridge workforce skill gaps, as we’re doing with our new state-funded skills development effort for frontline manufacturing supervisors.

Austin has a rare chance for the current jobless and your employees to reskill, re-engage, and come out of this pandemic stronger.

Stay tuned for a more encompassing initiative to identify and connect Austinites to job and upskilling opportunities in high-growth industries — based on our Master Community Workforce Plan — in coming weeks.

Also, below, find the latest job postings trend analysis (showing a negative impact by the rise in new COVID-19 cases), our reemployment funding outlook, and more about our upcoming new skills training collaborations.

In partnership, Tamara


1

As new COVID cases rise, July job postings in Austin MSA begin decline, down 24% from January 2020

Recent job posting trends in Austin MSA are beginning to decline with heightened public safety orders brought on by the rise of new COVID-19 cases, a contrast from the surge in job postings as restrictions eased over the past two months.

  • An uptick in Austin MSA job postings started the week of May 11, as food, retail, and hospitality industry jobs began to open.
  • But with the rise of COVID cases and business closuresfrom the Governor’s new safety orders, new job postings in Austin MSA fell 24.1% when comparing the first week of July to January 2020.
    • Just one week earlier(the week ending June 26),there was only a 4.7% decline in Austin MSA job postings compared to January 2020.
    • The impact is statewide, with Houston experiencing a 31.2% decline in job postings compared to January 2020.
  • The Leisure and Hospitality sector was the most impacted in the last week, with a 59.1% decline compared to January 2020.
    • We’re monitoring how the continuing rise in cases and enhanced safety restrictions continue to affect this hard-hit industry.
  • Manufacturing was the second most impacted industry, with a 48.3% decline in job posts in the same period comparison.
    • However, this industry represented 5% of all job postings, remaining steady with its monthly average since March.
  • Healthcare job postings fell 26.8% when comparing the same periods, but this industry did show an uptick in job posts toward the end of June, as hospitals hire contact tracers and health screeners at building entrances.
    • We’re keeping an eye on how the halt of elective surgeries further affects this industry.

2

Amid major increase in demand for reemployment services, one of Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s most significant funding sources to be slashed 15%

In 90 days: State funding forWFS’ Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) program, a no-cost employment program designed to give local job seekers personalized support and skills training to find a job, will be cut 15.1% for FY21, at a time when services are needed more than ever.

  • Through the WIOA program funding, WFS offers financial assistance to eligible individuals for job search assistance, training, and other support services.
  • To ensure trainees find jobs, WIOA provides funding for training in occupations with proven earnings potential in growing industries in Travis Co – such as auto mechanics, computer support specialists, and nurses.
    • WIOA-funded training is provided by a wide variety of certified training providers in Travis Co.
  • Funding is determined by regional economic health from June 2018 – July 2019. It does not take into account the current pandemic and work necessary for workforce boards and communities to create a stronger, safer, smarter workforce.
  • Low-income adult workers and dislocated workers living in Travis Co, who are usually eligible for WIOA and already the most impacted by the pandemic, will be more so affected as our capacity to support them decreases.

On the horizon: Unemployment checks will decrease significantly for 75%+ of the local joblesswhen the additional $600/week federal disaster-related benefits end on July 25.

  • The extra $600/week benefits are in addition to the state’s normal unemployment payments, which can amount from $69-$521 per week, depending on an applicant’s former income.
  • After July 25: Workforce development experts expect a “flood” of job seekers and demand for WFS’ job matching and training support services.
  • Of note: A McKinsey Global Survey found about half of Americans with job security concerns have fewer than four months of savings to live off.

3

WFS awarded $150K COVID-19 Skills Development Fund grant to support frontline supervisor training

Through our COVID-19 Skills Development Fund, we’re excited to build on our partnership with ARMA and SWRI Texas Manufacturers Assistance Center to help train frontline manufacturing supervisors through the Supervisors Certification Training. This is a need that bubbled up during our manufacturing industry roundtable. I’m very proud of our Upskill and Advancement Director Amber Warne and team for making this happen!

  • Skills Development Fund is Texas government’s premier funder of job-training, providing local customized training opportunities during the pandemic.
  • Supervisors Certification Training targets frontline supervisors and team leaders at manufacturing facilities. It gives a comprehensive overview of leadership principles to help them manage daily operations and challenges presented by COVID. 
    • The course allows for a full 40 hours of learning spread out over five weeks, which aids participants in not falling behind at work.
  • More on these upskilling partnerships through this fund to come.

More WFS funding opportunities:

  • Incumbent Worker Training provides funding assistance to help your company increase retention by filling your middle- and upper-level positions with upskilled, current full-time, permanent employees.
  • New Employee Hiring and Training Funds are also available to any type of employer to help cover tailored on-the-job training and a fully subsidized temp employee.
  • COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Funds can offset business’ infrastructure costs to help ensure you can maintain your workforce. Grants of $10–20K are available through WFS.

How to apply and help:

  • Please help us share these opportunities. We’re looking 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.
    • WFS staff is available to help you through the easy application process for rapid approval.

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