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Take a Deep Breath, It’s Stress Awareness Day

4 Nov

Satisfied Funny Multiethnic Male Workers Leaning Back In Chairs,

In terms of human biology, stress serves a useful purpose. But modern life can bring more than enough stress to transform day-to-day living into a struggle. Whether the cause is related to the pressures of your professional role or in personal relationships, too much stress can be harmful. That’s why Stress Awareness Day is an important occasion to recognize the stress in our lives and how it affects us.

The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) established Stress Awareness Day in 1998 to help provide information on stress, and strategies on how to address it for both employers and people. ISMA helps employers and employees help each other by providing comprehensive guides to establishing stress management programs within their organizations, and individuals by caring for their health and well-being each day.

On Stress Awareness Day, let’s make time to identify what’s stressing us out in our own lives and implement solutions. These can include exercising more, meditating, a change in diet or making more time to be with loved ones.

Is your stress work-related? Losing a job can be a source of tremendous stress. If you’ve been laid off, or seek a new role or new skills to advance your career, then Workforce Solutions Capital Area can help. Visit our Job Seekers page to explore available resources.

What is your favorite stress management technique? Let us know in a comment below!

Why It’s Important to Celebrate Family Literacy

1 Nov
family reading a book together

Family reading a book together.

The family that reads together, learns together. When parents are involved in their children’s reading, it has a positive effect on their growing language and literacy skills. For this reason, we’re celebrating National Family Literacy Day today.

This day is meant to bring awareness to the importance of family literacy through the encouragement and education of parents and caregivers, with a focus on the powerful lifelong effect on learning that begins when they participate in children’s literacy practices.

Since 1994, when Congress passed a joint resolution designating November 1 as National Family Literacy Day, people nationwide have celebrated the value of family literacy programs. Your local school and library may be celebrating today with activities like read-a-thons and book drives.

How can you help your children become more literate? Here are three ideas perfect for National Family Literacy Day:

Encourage children to read to their younger siblings. When older brothers or sisters are reading, they are demonstrating their love of reading to their younger siblings.

Take turns. Involve your children in preparing reading times. When then can choose the book, time or location, they will feel more involved.

Schedule it. Reading is just as important as play dates and practices for children’s growth. Make reading a priority by marking reading times on your calendar. You don’t have to limit reading to just today! Make time in your schedule, and you can make reading to your children a regular habit.

Becoming more involved in your children’s literacy is just one way you can be a great parent. For more ideas and resources, visit our Child Care Resources page.

Have other ideas? Let us know in a comment below!

Starting a New Life in a New Home

1 Nov

Two years ago, Amirreza Afzali left his home country of Iran and came to Austin. Amirreza received help from refugee support organizations, but still struggled with barriers like cultural differences and fluency in English. While seeking help to integrate into his new home, Amirreza was recommended to Workforce Solutions Capital Area early in 2018.

At Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s North Career Center, Amirreza met with Saunya O’Dwyer, a career counselor. They explored job search assistance and skills training opportunities funded through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program.

After entering the WIOA program, Amirreza received training to become a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) technician through Austin Career Institute, a trade and technical school. Additional WIOA services Amirreza received included job search and resume building assistance, and the purchase of tools necessary for his new job.

Amirreza Afzali

Amirreza Afzali

“The HVAC training was a life-changing experience, and the people at Austin Career Institute were wonderful,” Amirreza. “The teachers were very knowledgeable and caring and the staff were supportive. They really wanted me to succeed.”

At Austin Career Institute, Amirreza improved his English fluency by attending a no-cost ESL class: “The class was wonderful. It was an intensive class where we learned English from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday, for four months,” he said.

Amirreza completed his training on October 5, and today he works as an HVAC technician for Protex Restaurant Services.

“As I was going through the HVACR class, they found jobs for many of the students. I was able to find a great job at a local HVACR and restaurant equipment repair company as a technician before I finished school, where I have been learning a great deal more,” said Amirreza.

“My training at Austin Career Institute has put me on the path to have a great, long-lasting career where I no longer need government assistance and have growth potential beyond my expectations,” said Amirreza. “I am grateful for Workforce Solutions Capital Area and Austin Career Institute for giving me this opportunity to improve my life.”

“Amirreza overcame the fear and intimidation of being new to a different country, with vast differences in culture, and successfully sought out training support,” said Saunya. “He used that training to get a job in a high-demand field.”

For others seeking to improve their situation in life, Amirreza recommended keeping a serious outlook and working hard: “My advice to people who are seeking assistance is to take this opportunity seriously. This is an opportunity to change your life through Workforce Solutions’ help and your hard work.”


About WIOA
Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers financial assistance to eligible individuals for job search assistance, training, and other support services through funding from the WIOA program. This is a no-cost employment program designed to give job seekers the support and/or skills training they need to find a job.

Visit Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s WIOA page to learn more.

Let’s Celebrate Confidence on National Youth Confidence Day

20 Oct

Diversity Students Friends Happiness Concept

Today is National Youth Confidence Day, a day to celebrate the confidence of young people everywhere. Providing positive role models is necessary to developing young adults who are responsible and confident, which is why it’s worthwhile to connect and inspire young people today.

Confident Girl Mentoring Program, Inc., a nonprofit organization, founded National Youth Confidence Day to encourage a strong foundation of positive relationships to mentor today’s youth and acknowledge their future accomplishments.

How can we celebrate National Youth Confidence Day? Offer encouragement to young people and remind them that their experiences are learning opportunities to help them achieve their goals. Listen to their stories and celebrate their successes.

Here in Austin, we’re helping young people transition from high school to post-secondary education, training or employment with the Youth Employment Partnership. Workforce Solutions Capital Area funds this program, and four community partners participate: American YouthWorks, Community in Schools, Goodwill Central Texas, and LifeWorks.

Young people in Austin live in one of the fastest growing areas in the country. With so many career opportunities to explore, we’re assisting youth with a variety of resources to help prepare for the future, including a series of industry and occupational career profiles that contain information on growth projections, salary expectations, and education/skill requirements.

For students with disabilities, aged 16 -22, the Summer Earn and Learn (SEAL) program provides work readiness training and paid work experience. SEAL is a statewide strategy that includes employability skills training and paid work experience for students with disabilities. Here in Austin, Colton Head participated in SEAL in 2017 and gained confidence through his work experience. Read Colton’s story.

Do you have something in mind to make National Youth Confidence Day special? Tell us in a comment below!

Why Providers, Patients and the Public are Paying Their Respects to Medical Assistants Today

17 Oct

Happy Successful Medical Team

Today is Medical Assistants Recognition Day, celebrated on the third Wednesday of October, when providers, patients and the public express their gratitude for the essential work these healthcare professionals perform. Medical Assistants Recognition Day is part of the Medical Assistants Recognition Week series of events promoted by the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Medical assistants are often the backbone of doctors’ offices. Some occupy the front desk and check patients in when they arrive for an appointment. Others show patients to the exam room, take histories, prepare them for the doctor’s exam, and even assist during the exam. Still other assistants handle insurance forms and referrals or billing.

This is a fast-growing career across the nation, and especially in Austin, where healthcare is one of the three key economic sectors of our region. In 2014, there were 2,410 people working in this occupation in Austin/Travis County. By 2024, that number will grow to 3,250.

This positive outlook for growth reflects the important role medical assistants play in healthcare, and why a day like Medical Assistants Recognition Day is so important. How will you celebrate today? Tell us in a comment below!

Have You Thanked Your Pharmacy Technician Today?

16 Oct

Two women working in a pharmacy

Did you know the third Tuesday in October is National Pharmacy Technician Day? Today, we thank these hard workers for their care for patients and for their professional contributions to the healthcare sector.

This annual event is endorsed by the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Educators Council. In their role, pharmacy technicians prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist, and measure, mix, count out, label and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.

This is a growing occupation in Austin’s healthcare sector. In 2014, there were 1,480 pharmacy technicians working here. By 2024, this occupation will grow to 1,920 openings. One of Austin’s new pharmacy technicians is Valerie Martinez, who began her healthcare career at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in May 2018. Read her story here.

Interested in observing National Pharmacy Technician Day? You can download graphics and stickers at the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board website. Have other ideas? Tell us in a comment below!

Today We Honor Emergency Nurses for Their Commitment to Patient Care

10 Oct

Visiting Doctors Updating Patient's Medical Card

Since 1989, the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) has recognized the second Wednesday in October as Emergency Nurses Day to honor emergency nurses for their commitment to patient care. In 2001, Emergency Nurses Day became part of a weeklong celebration by ENA for the contributions of emergency nurses.

Today, we say “thank you” to emergency room nurses for their hard work and service, and for their dedication and commitment to their patients. Here in Austin, healthcare is a key economic sector, and the demand for the services of nurses is only growing. By 2024, the Austin region will require almost 15,000 nurses, making a day like Emergency Nurses Day even more relevant.

How will you thank emergency nurses for their life-saving work today? Tell us in a comment below!

On National Manufacturing Day, We Celebrate Employers’ Contributions to the Economy

5 Oct


October 5 is a big day, and not just because it’s Friday. Today, many employers are celebrating National Manufacturing Day, which falls on the first Friday of October. Today is a rallying point for employers in the manufacturing industry to come together and address collective challenges to help their communities and future workforce grow and thrive.

On National Manufacturing Day, America’s workforce celebrates the leadership and skilled talent of the manufacturing industry. This holiday has its origins in 2012, when Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey proclaimed the first Manufacturing Day. President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation for 2014’s National Manufacturing Day.

Manufacturing employers create products and develop technologies to enhance the competitiveness of America’s economy. Here in Austin, skilled trades and advanced manufacturing is one of the three key economic sectors of our region.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area is collaborating with several key stakeholders in our region’s manufacturing sector, including the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association (ARMA), to develop a strategy that simultaneously addresses the skill and hiring needs of manufacturing companies while also creating pathways to good jobs for Central Texas residents.

We developed an asset map of education and training programs located in the Austin-Round Rock MSA that are helping students and workers acquire the skills and credentials needed by our region’s manufacturing employers. It’s this kind of forward-thinking approach that makes celebrating the manufacturing workforce worthwhile.

Are you involved in Austin’s advanced manufacturing sector? How will you observe National Manufacturing Day? Tell us in a comment below!

We’re Recognizing Careers in Construction All October Long

3 Oct

rbww_28October is Careers in Construction Month, with a proclamation from Gov. Greg Abbott encouraging Texans to learn more about the construction industry and to celebrate the contributions of the construction workforce.

Spearheaded by the National Center for Construction Education & Research and Build Your Future, Careers in Construction Month is gaining momentum with 29 states already filing their proclamations to celebrate this nationwide observance.

This month, let’s recognize skilled construction workers like Savannah Marvets, who is completing an apprenticeship program to become a licensed plumber. Let’s also congratulate the students at Lanier High School who are participating in an electrician pre-apprentice dual credit course to become the next generation of skilled electricians keeping the lights on in Austin.

Occupations like plumbers and electricians are just two of the many skilled trades now in high demand by employers in Austin/Travis County. With shortages of skilled craft professionals increasing across the country, now is the time to promote and support construction careers in every state.

How will you show your appreciation for all the skilled men and women working hard to build America and motivate youth to pursue a successful career in the construction industry? Tell us in a comment below!

America’s Workforce Celebrates Workers with Disabilities in October

1 Oct

Invalid or disabled young business woman person sitting wheelcha

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), and this year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All.”

This month, we celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities to promote the value of a workforce inclusive of the skills and talents of disabled workers.

NDEAM has a long history. In 1945, Congress declared the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988 and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.” When the Office of Disability Employment Policy was established in 2001, expanding the reach of NDEAM became one of its objectives.

Every October, employers of all sizes and across many industries observe and celebrate NDEAM, doing everything from displaying NDEAM posters to implementing disability education programs.

Here in Austin, the Texas HireAbility Capital Region Job Fair will connect employers with people with disabilities looking for meaningful employment. This free event will be on October 12, 2018 from 9 am to 12 pm at ESC Region 13 (5701 Springdale Rd Austin, TX 78723). To learn more, visit our Special Events page.

Interested in sharing the word about how disabled workers contribute to America’s workforce? Check out the 31 Days of NDEAM slideshow from the Department of Labor.

This October, let’s engage in fostering a more inclusive workforce that recognizes all workers for their abilities. How will you participate? Tell us in a comment below!