All Requests to Transfer Child Care Now Require a 2-Week Notice

8 Jul

Pretty Young Single Mom Working At Home On A Laptop Computer WhiEffective immediately, Workforce Solutions Capital Area is implementing a requirement of a two-week notice for all requests to transfer your children to another child care provider.

Please contact us if you require a transfer. We will work with you to transfer your care and provide you with a start date for service at the new provider you have selected. We are available by email at

If you would like to call us, we are currently working remotely and are available by phone at 512.549.4967, option 5. We are currently receiving a high volume of calls.

If you are unable to get in touch with one of our staff members, please leave a detailed message with your name, phone number, and email address. One of our staff members will contact you as soon as possible.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area CEO Update (June 29 – July 5, 2020)

5 Jul

2-minute read

Good afternoon, and happy 4th of July weekend,

Many American workers who are considering making a career transition will need to reskill, yet fewer than half say they have access to the education and training they want. 

With over 80k in Travis County out of work — and the majority expressing interest in career reskilling — Workforce Solutions Capital Area and training partners, such as Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 286 (Local 286), continue to identify and connect Austinites to job opportunities and companies hiring now.

Stay tuned for a more encompassing initiative — based upon our Master Community Workforce Plan — in coming weeks.

Also, below, hear from the latest apprenticeship training graduates on their experience and skilled trades industry employers on their ‘bright future.’

In partnership, Tamara


‘This program is definitely going to change my life’: 100% of June 2020 MC3 apprenticeship class found employment

Last week, we celebrated 18 Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) graduates who earned their credentials in the 7th 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.
  • This cohort was the first comprised of only recent high school grads —all but one are class of 2020.
  • On average, program trainees can earn up to $15/hour during their first year as an apprentice and up to $70,000/year after they complete a program, which takes two weeks and is free.
  • The next step for WFS is having another class, which starts on July 6. Applications are usually accepted through the first day of class — you can recommend your friends and colleagues to me today, or apply on our website.
  • Of note: Recent studies show the majority of Americans, especially those with a high school education or less, prefer nondegree programs and skills training options (71%) over degree programs (29%).

What they’re saying:

  • Angel Castro, a 2020 grad from Akins High School, said this program was highly useful, especially as many young people have yet to decide on a career.
    • “I just don’t want to be stuck somewhere where I’m just like ‘I don’t know what to do,’ change majors — none of that,” Angel said. 
    • “I want to be here to start working, have an education, and get paid for it — no student loans… The program helped me a lot and gave me the guide to go somewhere that I want to go.”
  • Alex Matos, a 2020 grad from Manor Senior High School, said, “It was awesome to meet people, see all these trades, hear about what we can do — how it works.” Alex will be working at Young & Pratt, specializing in sheet metal.
  • “Construction hasn’t slowed down,” said Brian Peabody, training coordinator at Local 286. “Our workers have been doing everything they possibly can to maintain their safety and their health, but at the same time, they’re still building Texas.”

How to apply and help:

  • Registration is now open for the last class of summer from July 6-17. Applications are usually accepted through the first day of class.
  • Please help us share this opportunity. Download the flyer and send to your constituents, especially new high school grads. 


‘The future looks good’: Skilled trade employers confident in present and future employment needs

Local skilled trades companies convened for a WFS industry roundtable in June, sharing collective confidence in the industry based on real-time demand and projected hiring needs. For a pulse of the skilled trades industry after the mid-March economic freefall, our employer survey showed:

  • Three out of 11 skilled trades companies reported they had to furlough or lay off workers in immediate response to COVID.
    • 73% reported being open for business, however.
  • 73% reported a decrease in revenue, but over half said they do not anticipate a future reduction in their workforce.
    • 27% also expect to increase headcount in the future.

What they’re saying:

  • John Colley, director of Texas operations at Rosendin Electric, an electrical contracting company, said the company is “actually going to come out of this virus in better shape” than they started, speaking to the backlog of major electrical projects in the Austin area over the next year.
    • Many employers represented at the roundtable includingSamsung Austin Semiconductor, Rosendin Electric, and Austin Carpenters Local Union 1266 said the need for skilled workers and apprentices is increasing as large construction projects ramp up.
  • Mark Butler, facilities manager at Samsung, said it’s “business as usual” for his area’s skilled workers, with an unchanged demand to service and maintain equipment so far.
  • See the full skilled trades industry roundtable here, moderated by Joe Cooper, WFS board member and training director of Local 286 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union.

Yes, and:

  • WFS is offering funding opportunities to help sustain payroll and talent readiness for local businesses during this ongoing pandemic.
  • To learn more or apply, download our info sheetor just shoot me a quick email of interest. 

Skilled Trades by the numbers:

  • Future workforce: There were 8,562 unemployment claimants from the construction, transportation, and warehousing sectors from March through May, 7% of the total number of Austin’s jobless.
  • Jobs uptick: In June, 982 new skilled trades jobs (including transportation, warehousing, and construction) were posted in Austin MSA, +182 from May. There were 2,062 total postings in June for the region. 
  • Top occupations for June include Class A CDL drivers, plumbers, warehouse workers, and service techs.


TWC delays work-search requirements due to the recent rise in Texas COVID cases, will revisit late July

TWC has stated that bringing back work-search requirements, where Texans must be actively searching for a job in order to receive benefits, will continue to be conditions-based.

  • This requirement — temporarily waived during the COVID crisis — was previously set to kick back in July 6.

On the horizon: Unemployment checks are scheduled to 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 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.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area CEO Update (June 22-28, 2020)

28 Jun

2-minute read

Good afternoon,

As of June 19, Travis Co still has more than 80k of our friends and neighbors out of work, and Central Texas has more than 130k. Half of the jobless claimants earned up to $30k at the time of their employment dislocation. Three-quarters earned up to $50k. 

Unlike the previous recession, this one is hitting lower-income, service economy workers in their 20’s harder than anyone else. In line with ongoing efforts to move people out of poverty through the Master Community Workforce Plan, Austin/Travis Co has a lot of motivation to provide strong career opportunities and ladders for our local people in growing industries. 

We look forward to developing a partnership agreement with Travis County and Tesla in coming weeks to identify our friends and neighbors and help connect them to agile, rapid job training and supports — such as child care, transportation, and employment services — in preparation for these up to 5,000 job opportunities.

Below, find our latest job postings trend analysis (showing promising signs in Master Plan target industries), catch up quick on policy changes, and hear from those we serve who are and will be affected.


Which industries are hiring now? June 2020 employers post more job across all industries than a year ago

While May 2020 job postings lagged 8% compared to a year before, June 2020 saw a pick-up and exceeded June 2019. So employers are currently attempting to hire with roughly 6x the number of unemployed as openings, and this is changing in real-time based upon government and business responses to COVID.

  • Healthcare made up roughly 18% of postings,though the Governor’s order Thursday to end elective surgeries in Travis Co will introduce additional uncertainty.
  • Skilled Trades job postings have continued to keep pace with postings from the red hot market of June 2019.
  • Service industry: There was an overall uptick in job postings for limited-service restaurant, supermarket, and full-service restaurant industries, though Fridays decision to close bars will introduce additional uncertainty into getting people back to work.
  • Technology and Skilled Trades seem to be the most resilient industries targeted in the Master Plan, having the most consistent hiring patterns by month compared to 2019.
    • Only 2% of the jobless were previously employed in IT occupations.
  • Manufacturing, which represents about 7% of all job postings, maintains a similar average of job postings compared to pre-COVID.


Catch up quick: COVID-19 workforce policy changes

Weekly, if not daily, policy changes in response to COVID-19 have kept us and those we serve on our toes. Here’s the latest scheduled effective dates and why they matter:

Child care policy: This pandemic is making clear people can go back to work if they have childcare. We continue to respond to a high call volume from parents — who are trying to go back to work — regarding these changes.

  • TWC announced they will reinstate attendance requirements for subsidized child care starting July 20.
    • Children in subsidized child care programs are generally allowed 40 unexplained absences during a year. This requirement will be reinstated, but due to the disruption of COVID, all children’s absences will be reset to zero on July 20.
  • As of June 25, Texas is reinstating COVID safety measures for child care centers that had been repealed in mid-June.
    • The repeal of safety mandates caused concerns in the industry, and we are beginning to see clusters (3 or more infected) in centers.
  • Parent Share of Cost, where parents receiving financial assistance are required to pay for a portion of their costs, was reinstated June 1.

Unemployment benefits policy: I anticipate these scheduled policy changes will dramatically increase the number of unemployed workers seeking our job matching and training services.

  • July 6 is when work-search requirements, where the jobless are required tosearch for work to receive unemployment benefits, will be reinstated.
  • July 25 is the last date the additional $600/week federal disaster-related benefits will be issued. 


Scoop: How policy changes are impacting Austin residents and child care providers

As our centers opened last week for jobless clients to come into our office by appointment only (and at 25% capacity), here’s what we are seeing and hearing:

  • Foot traffic in our career centers has mostly been low, but steady, while call volume continues to be high.
    • We field and initiate over 500 calls a day.
    • We continue to explore ways to effectively engage our customers remotely so they can choose to participate at home or visit the centers based on need.
  • The hot topic for parents and providers is guidance on transferring to another child care center if a child is exposed to COVID in their previous center.
    • We’re currently updating our transfer policy alongside our providers to ensure everyone’s safety. 
    • In the meantime, we are not processing transfer requests immediately if we know the center the family is leaving has confirmed cases.
    • Nine child care centers in our network were temporarily closed last week due to a concerning case. This number is likely to rise as Austin experiences a COVID spike.
    • Meanwhile, 60% of our providers that usually operate in the summer are open.
  • Subsidized child care providers shared strong concerns with us on the potential impact of both repealing safety precautions and reinstating required attendance.
  • One provider told us that if these changes went live right now, they’d cancel their contract with WFS and transfer subsidy program kids out to lessen exposure.

Brianna Pleasant is Building a Career in Austin’s Culinary World

19 Feb

Brianna Pleasant

Brianna Pleasant

Young residents of Austin/Travis County who are interested in job skills training and employment opportunities can find them with Workforce Solutions Capital Area and partners like Goodwill Central Texas. Brianna Pleasant discovered just such an opportunity in 2019 and today is exploring a future in Austin’s culinary world.

In March 2019, Brianna visited a friend at her former high school. While there, Brianna met her friend’s counselor, who talked with Brianna about support services available at Goodwill.

“She said I might try the program, because it could help me get my driver’s license and a job within a specific field,” Brianna said.

At Goodwill, Brianna met with Shaun-Patrice Williams, In School Youth Career Case Manager. Together, they explored opportunities for Brianna to continue her education and in-demand occupations to pursue as a future career in Austin’s skilled workforce.

Brianna completed her CAT training with Goodwill, and next interned at the Central Texas Food Bank from July to October. While there, she completed the Food Bank’s Culinary Training Program, a 12-week mix of classroom time and hands-on job training for basic culinary skills. The program provides real-world experience in the Food Bank’s kitchen, where students like Brianna work with commercial equipment and food production. Brianna also received transportation assistance from Goodwill to go to and from her training and internship.Goodwill Central Texas offers a variety of job-readiness training programs, such as Career Advancement Training (CAT). CAT includes a five-day, immersive boot camp, utilizing hands-on activities that are designed to prepare job seekers to find and retain employment. CAT offers financial literacy training, resume and mock interview training, and more.

While participating, Brianna completed 30 hours of food safety training and earned the ServSafe Food Handler’s certification. Her internship was a paid one, “which helped me to save money for a car,” Brianna said.

With her training complete and her internship successfully concluded, Brianna began job searching—and quickly found work at Jeffrey’s, a New American restaurant in west Austin.

“On my graduation day, I started my job as a pastry line cook at Jeffrey’s,” Brianna said. “My day goes by in increments of 23 minutes as I bake bread for the ever-growing crowds of hungry customers. I also make cheese boards, the most popular dessert we offer.”

What’s next for Brianna? Plans for home ownership and continuing her culinary education!

“I’m considering getting a second job and moving into a home of my own while finishing up my driver’s license. I’m also considering joining Austin Community College’s culinary program to further my education in the culinary world, and possibly 3-D design, too,” said Brianna.

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

We served 371 youth through this program in 2019. Visit our WIOA page to learn more.

At Westview Middle School, an Eighth Grade Group Inspires the Student Body About Future Careers in Austin’s Workforce

7 Feb


Victoria Leonardo, standing second from left, with student organizers at the career fair.

For Westview Middle School in Pflugerville Independent School District, February was a big month for career exploration.

Sixteen eighth graders, participating in the civics program Speak Up, Speak Out, hosted their school’s first career fair on February 7 with assistance from Victoria Leonardo, our Career & Education Outreach Specialist for Pflugerville Independent School District.

Speak Up, Speak Out is a civic education program designed to teach third grade through twelfth grade students about their communities, and is led by the Moody College of Communication at the university of Texas at Austin.

“Many of the students have parents who work low-skill jobs, so the youth think that’s all that is available to them,” Victoria said. “With this event, we can introduce them to many different occupations that they may have not thought about before and understand what it takes to get these jobs.”

Eighth grader Camila Valdez said, “It’s about how students aren’t well informed about careers. We want to help them take better paths to a better future.”

Eight hundred fifty students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades attended the career fair in the school’s gym and interacted with 16 partners, including Austin-Travis County EMS, Austin Carpenters Local 1266, and Westview’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers.

To fill the gym with vendors to speak to students, the organizers worked together to make a lot of phone calls, according to Jasmine Cortes, a Speak Up, Speak Out member: “We started by contacting people to come. We worked together to find people to come, and our teacher put in time to contact people. We planned it all in a short time.”

Alfredo Mendoza helped create banners for the partners and set up tables beforehand: “I was nervous at the beginning, but by working together we got it done. I saw a lot of kids interacting and enjoying the career fair,” he said.

Candace Hennessy is a recruiting coordinator for Parsley Energy who attended the career fair. “It was a great first experience for me. Most of the kids were engaged and all of them were respectful, so it was fun interacting with them,” she said.

Jennifer Painter-Beillon, Round Rock Campus Director for Central Texas Beauty College, said, “The kids were so engaging. Better engagement than any other school we’ve been to, including the high schools.”

Our team of outreach specialists serve students in grades 6 through 12 in Austin, Del Valle, Elgin, Manor and Pflugerville ISDs. This is a two-year program in partnership with school districts throughout the Austin metro area, for which we received a Workforce Career and Education Outreach Specialist Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Our team of specialists has served more than 11,000 students since the grant began in July 2019.

Garza High School Seniors Discover Career-Related Learning Opportunities at Programs Showcase

5 Feb

ACC Programs Showcase

What to do after graduating high school? Some seniors plan to go to work, others to continue their education. But where to take their learning? At Garza High School, 160 seniors interested in what their local community college offers explored opportunities at the Austin Community College (ACC) Programs Showcase on February 5, 2020.

Representatives from 13 ACC programs, including Engineering & Manufacturing, Computer Studies, and Dental Hygienist, met with students throughout the day in the school’s gym. ACC’s Financial Aid and Support Center, which provides childcare scholarships and textbooks, provided students information about supportive services available to community college students. Also represented was the Workforce and Education Readiness Continuum (WERC), a City of Austin- and Travis County-funded network of community partners linked to help prepare Austin-area residents to enter or reenter the job market.

The Programs Showcase came together thanks to the coordinating efforts of Stephanie Calderon, one of our four Career & Education Outreach Specialists. Stephanie serves students, parents, teachers and counselors in south Austin and Del Valle Independent School Districts.

“It’s important for students to learn about career pathways available at their local community college,” Stephanie said. “Some seniors think ACC is only for the basics, but there are many different departments to find careers needed in our workforce.”

Christine Garza, 18, was most interested in the Childcare & Development program: “It was my favorite. I learned about the basics of what they do and the process of what the class can provide for me,” Christine said.

“After graduation, I’m going to decide on a four-year degree or go to ACC,” Christine said. “I definitely want to earn a four-year degree, with a major in social work or maybe psychology.”


Christine Garza, 18, talks with Stephanie Calderon, a Career and Education Outreach Specialist at Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

Our team of outreach specialists serve students in grades 6 through 12 in Austin, Del Valle, Elgin, Manor and Pflugerville ISDs. This is a two-year program in partnership with school districts throughout the Austin metro area, for which we received a Workforce Career and Education Outreach Specialist Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

Our team of specialists has served more than 11,000 students since the grant began in July 2019.

Texas Veterans Find Employment Opportunities in Austin at Hiring Red, White & You!

13 Dec


Hiring Red, White & You! is an annual statewide hiring event for veterans, hosted by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in cooperation with all 28 workforce development boards. This year, we partnered with TWC, the Texas Veterans Commission, and the City of Austin to host the job fair at our North Career Center on November 7.

The event was an enormous success: 172 job seekers, including 93 veterans, connected with 46 employers and 14 service providers to explore work and training opportunities in Austin’s skilled workforce.

One of those hiring employers was the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). Jim Espinoza, an HR recruiter, represented the Giddings State School, a juvenile correctional facility near Giddings in Lee County.

“My supervisor at the central office invited me to the Austin job fair, and I said I would love to,” Jim said. “Registering for this event was simple, convenient and efficient.”

At Hiring Red, White & You, Jim would raise awareness about career opportunities as youth development coaches at the Giddings State School.

“The coaches act as mentors and positive role models for youth, to help them with rehabilitation and meeting all their needs,” Jim said. “We also have mental health specialists, case managers and teachers and teacher’s aides at each facility.”

At Hiring Red, White & You, Jim shared job opportunities with interested veterans throughout the day: “I had a lot of good face-to-face contact with veterans, young men and women who shared a lot with me, had copies of their resumes for me, and took a liking to what TJJD offers. I had close to 40 signatures from job seekers who wanted to be contacted.”

For Jim, this veterans job fair was a valuable opportunity to network with other hiring organizations to connect Austin’s veterans with job openings.

“Hiring Red, White & You has a good setup where people can spread the word about employment opportunities. I looked across the room and saw a little bit of everything,” Jim said. “I met many good people and I will remember them because I can make referrals for the veterans I meet.’

Over the rest of November, Jim interviewed five veterans who expressed interest in working as youth development coaches at the Giddings State School and hired three.

“We had a big increase of applicants online and individuals going to the facility to turn in an application,” said Jim. “Interest has blossomed, and we have received a lot more exposure, which is a win for everybody—especially the veterans who find work that makes them happy and meets what they would love to do.”

For employers interested in hiring more veterans, Jim offered this advice: “Mark your calendars and come to this event. Hiring Red, White & You impressed me, and I had a good feeling when I left. I will be attending from here on out.”

Veterans Services
If you are a veteran looking for a job, Workforce Solutions Capital Area can assist you with your search. Veterans receive priority for job and training referrals at our three Career Centers. Our career specialists are specifically trained to help veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and can help you achieve maximum employment and training opportunities. Learn more about available services for veterans.

Recognition for Registered Apprenticeship Expansion at the 23rd Annual Workforce Conference

10 Dec

Award presentation

Workforce Solutions Capital Area received an award of $100,000 for Registered Apprenticeship expansion initiatives.

Big news for Austin’s skilled workforce development: the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Workforce Board received the inaugural Registered Apprenticeship Expansion Award of $100,000 from the Texas Workforce Commission on December 4 at the 23rd Annual Workforce Conference in Dallas!

Registered Apprenticeship (RA) is an important solution toward strengthening Austin’s skilled workforce. Through RAs, residents can acquire valuable skills in a variety of in-demand occupations across key economic sectors, including skilled trades and advanced manufacturing, and employers can fill open positions with local talent who possess the required skills.

We’re working with many of our community partners to introduce new apprenticeship programs and expand existing ones. Such as the electrical pre-apprenticeship program for students at Navarro High School, created in partnership with TRIO Electric, Austin ISD, and Austin Community College (ACC). This year saw the launch of the second cohort at Navarro, and TRIO’s expansion of the program to Premiere High School – Austin North, a public charter school.

We partnered with Texas Mutual Insurance Company and KVUE, our local ABC affiliate, for Trade Up Texas, a career exploration and awareness campaign. Together, we created a website and a video series to introduce interested residents to training and employment opportunities in the trades. The campaign ran from December 2018 to June 2019, and is one of many initiatives we have joined Texas Mutual for to inspire Austinites to become professional, safe workers contributing to our region’s economic competitiveness.


Amber Warne, Director of Upskilling and Advancement; Marie Matisans, Business Relations Coordinator; and Leah Meunier, Chief Strategy Officer.

Another new pathway to RA is the Certified Production Technician Training Program funded by Texas Mutual and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and offered by Workforce Solutions Capital Area in partnership with ACC and the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association. The program offers free manufacturing production training and paid internships, and 22 people have completed the program thus far, including Tony Gayles, a hearing impaired job seeker who now works full time at Community Impact Printing in Pflugerville.

Have you participated in an RA program? Which apprenticeable occupation is your favorite? Tell us in a comment below!

Erric Davis is an Advocate for Veterans Seeking Careers in Austin

4 Dec

Erric Davis served as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Erric Davis served as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy.

Although he was away from Austin for 26 years, Erric Davis is an Austin native, born and raised. For 24 of those years, Erric was a Boatswain’s Mate in the U.S. Navy, serving on five ships and three shore commands on the West Coast and in San Antonio. After retiring at the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Erric and his family moved to Austin.

Now a veteran, Erric began pursuing his postsecondary education. As a veteran with service-connected disabilities, Erric received Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This included paid training and a monthly living expense stipend.

With this support, Erric earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Concordia University Texas where he graduated magna cum laude.

“While I was in school, I took coursework on project management and connected the dots—this is very similar to what I did in the Navy,” said Erric. “l asked around for where a veteran can go for help to ‘plain talk’ what I did as a service member so that civilian employers would better understand my role in the service.”

Erric’s search led him to, the state’s premier job site with features designed to improve talent and job matching for job seekers and employers alike. Erric found information for veterans on WorkinTexas and connected with Sean Jevning with the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).

“Sean gave me a lot of information and helped me to get hired on at the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2016. I finished my education while I was there and transitioned to project management through the help of TVC,” Erric said.

During this time, Erric began visiting Workforce Solutions Capital Area’s North Career Center, where he met with Michelle Gilbert, a Veterans Career Advisor and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist with TVC.

Michelle took my resume and polished it, and she also helped me transfer my resume to my WorkinTexas account,” Erric said. “She helped me with job seeking and she continued to track my education and made sure I was on par.”

“Michelle shared all types of useful, helpful resources, including YouTube channels for interviews, a mock job interview, job-search strategies, and tips on how to dress. The amount of assistance she gave me was immeasurable,” said Erric.

“I realized as someone who is doing job interviews to just go out there and do it—you may not get the job, but it’s an opportunity to interview and get comfortable doing it. I was a willing participant, which is most important,” he said.

For Erric, the service he received from the career center staff contributed to making his job search experience a positive one: “I felt like I was receiving white glove service. When the front desk staff realized I was a veteran, they would thank me for my service and reach out to Michelle. I felt welcomed, I felt important. My accomplishments in the service weren’t looked down upon,” he said.

Erric Davis

Erric Davis is now a project manager with TDLR

“Erric has expressed his appreciation to me for the employment services he received from the Texas Veterans Commission and additional information he received regarding the veteran’s benefits he is entitled to that he didn’t know about,” said Michelle.

In early 2019, Erric joined the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) as a project manager.

“TDLR issues and regulates 39 license types in Texas. I have created a process to update our approximate 1,000 applications for those different license types so that our constituents are able to fill them out online via a fillable PDF,” Erric said.

“I also manage several other projects, including software upgrades and other technological advancements for internal stakeholders. We are seeking to change some of our manual processes to automated processes and I am fortunate to be involved in those discussions and changes,” he added.

“Michelle linked me up with the most awesome state agency. TDLR loves veterans and we are recognized for the number of veterans we have here,” said Erric.

“Erric is an advocate for all veterans, and for the employment services offered at the Workforce Solutions career centers and the Texas Veterans Commission,” said Michelle.

For others who are following in Erric’s footsteps, and transitioning from uniformed service to Austin’s workforce, Erric offers this advice: “Be prepared and know what you want to do. Take advantage of the services that the State of Texas offers to veterans, and especially, the employment services offered by the Texas Veterans Commission.

“I don’t know of any other state that is so supportive to veterans. This is the second state I’ve lived in since retiring and Texas is absolutely welcoming and supportive to those of us who have fulfilled the commitment to serve our country,” he said.

“Use your benefits. As veterans, we have a lot to offer in the workforce and it is important that you take advantage of the benefits available through the State of Texas,” Erric said.

“Also, educate other veterans on the services available. You’d be surprised how many veterans are not aware of the benefits that are available. Be the testimonial they need to witness, so they too can take advantage of all the services and benefits available to veterans in Texas.”

At Two Austin High Schools, Educators and Employers Guide the Next Generation of Electricians

12 Nov

TRIO Electric Commitment Ceremony

Offering pre-apprentice dual credit courses can benefit schools and employers alike. For schools introducing career and technical education (CTE) programs, they can gain industry input and guidance from career professionals. For participating employers, they have the opportunity to help guide the next generation of skilled workers.

At Navarro High School, a pre-apprentice dual credit course is available for students who want to become the future electricians of Austin. The course, now in its second year, is part of a partnership between electrical contractor TRIO Electric, Austin Independent School District and Austin Community College, and is free to participating students.

A second program debuted this year at Premier High School – Austin North, a ResponsiveEd public charter school. Premier assembled an on-site fabrication lab on campus for students to earn high school credits while training for two years alongside TRIO’s employees. The program is intended to help dedicated students come away with the experience needed to begin a career as an electrician right after graduation.

Both programs teach students how to be safe, productive and skilled electricians as well as other employable and soft skills. Participating students attended commitment ceremonies at both schools on October 28, 2019.

Students are bused to TRIO Electric and learn about the work electricians perform, including how to read electrical blueprints and bend conduits. The programs offer learning outside of the classroom as well. Students visit construction job sites to observe the work being completed and are offered paid full-time internships in the summer.

Ceremony at Premiere High School

At Premiere High School – Austin North, nine students joined TRIO Electric’s program.

Beau Pollock, President and CEO of TRIO Electric, said, “There is a major demand for skilled labor here. With this program, we can give you a skill to help you get a job to fulfill that demand. When you become part of that supply chain, you will have a great foundation from which to grow from.”

“You are making the choice to join this program and commit to TRIO, ACC, AISD and most importantly to yourself. The definition of commitment is a state of being dedicated to an activity. That activity is learning the electrical trade,” said Beau.

“If you finish the program and are employable, then you will earn a job. That job will lead to a new car, like some of our recent graduates who now can afford transportation. It leads to a savings account, and then a foundation for you to explore options. We will give you the jobs. What you do with those jobs is up to you,” said Beau.


Indego Clemons and Beau Pollock, , President and CEO of TRIO Electric.

Indego Clemons, an 18-year-old senior at Premier, joined the program because he sees it as a pathway toward owning his own business.

“My dad owns several businesses, and that inspires me to have my own. I want to invest in my businesses to make more money,” Indego said.

“It’s been really fun, especially when we do hands-on training. Bending metal bars and learning about wiring and connections is the most fun for me,” said Indego.

Chris Thomas is a master electrician who has worked for Austin Independent School District for seven years, maintaining electrical systems at schools across the district. Today, he is the Electrician Trade Instructor at Navarro. For Chris, offering courses like this one are valuable because they help put students on positive directions in life.

“A course like this gives students an early start in learning a trade, and when they graduate they can get a decent paying job to use for the rest of their life if they don’t or can’t go to full-time college,” said Thomas.

Ceremony at Navarro High School

At Navarro High School, 29 students are participating in the program’s second cohort in 2019.

Victor Reyes is a senior at Navarro and a graduate of the first cohort. His advice to the new participants: “The most important thing is to have fun. It’s an amazing and fun class, so enjoy it. You have an electrifying opportunity, so take advantage of it and enjoy yourselves.”