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Local workforce commission engages in finding jobs, training

Aug. 5, 2009

By Derek Smith

This is KWBU-FM 103.3. Looking locally now, Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken was in Waco last week presenting a grant check to McLennan Community College and L-3 Communications for job training. MCC has been working with a number of local organizations over the years providing training for incumbent workers and helping those who are jobless. The Heart o' Texas Workforce Commission is also actively engaged in not only helping people find jobs now, but increasing their viability through such training. It's this sort of partnership that Pauken says is vital towards helping the state of Texas and the nation lift out of the recession.

Skills training can stimulate the local economy in a number of ways, the most obvious example being that it makes individuals more employable. It can also build confidence. David Davis, operations manager at Heart o' Texas Workforce Solutions said that their office is, unsurprisingly, seeing a surge in the number of people utilizing their services. We walk into their computer room where all 28 stations are full with people waiting around the walls.

Some of these people are hoping they can get skills training for future jobs. Many have struggled with employment or lack of education, but there's a surge in the number of people who have been employed for decades only to find themselves laid off or their skills obsolute.

So on Mondays and Wednesdays, many of these people find themselves in a room at the Workforce Solutions building on New Road, taking their first test in years, an assessment to determine whether or not they can easily find employment without training, or whether they would benefit from further assistance. If they qualify, they can receive money to take skills classes at local colleges. There could be a lot riding on their test, and their nervousness is readily apparent as Rose Jimenez lays out the details.

The twelve test-takers nearly all have numerous questions about qualifications, the format of the test, or even whether or not they can use a calculator on the math portion. After taking the test, their case workers determine whether or not their skills are good enough for current employment that the state would choose to invest in skills training for others, or whether or not they will be those others.

David Davis spends more time touting options provided by Heart o' Texas Workforce Solutions like job fairs, their partnerships with employers who rely on them to find workers, and their resume and job interview workshops. In this economy, those areas can provide the most immediate benefits. But while he doesn't have exact numbers on the results of job training locally, he's believes it certainly has been a success.

Tomorrow on KWBU-FM we'll visit with two McLennan Community College administrators, one of whom received the grant from Chairman Tom Pauken from the Texas Workforce Commission last week. Danny Uptmore believes that the work they do, along with the investment in training at Workforce Solutions is going along way towards improving the community on a number of levels. You can see more at KWBU.org. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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