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Local job training programs get $4.6M

Workforce Network Inc. funding

A $4.6 million check was presented to Workforce Network Inc. from Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area during a special ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Pictured are Workforce Network President Fay Crider (left), aid recipient Sara McKinney, Workforce Network Director of Stakeholder Relations Gail Davalos, Baylor Scott & White Health President Tim Ols, Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, and Workforce Solutions RCA CEO Paul Fletcher. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Workforce Network Inc. received $4.6 million to bolster job training programs in Burnet, Llano, and Blanco counties during a special ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Marble Falls. The money came from a pool of $12 million awarded to Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area from a federal grant through the American Rescue Plan Act

“We benefit employers by filling in-demand occupations, but it’s also just as important to us that we are meeting the needs of workers,” said Workforce Network President Fay Crider. “We don’t just want to just give them a job; we want to give them a sustainable salary that they can live on, sustain their family on, and a career path.”

The $4.6 million will be used to fund job training programs in high-demand career fields like healthcare, skilled trades, and information technology. Recently, Workforce Network began holding free certified plumber and electrician training for Llano County residents and free commercial driver’s license training. A free medical assistant training program was also offered to Llano-area residents earlier this year.

“One of the things that we see in almost every court almost every week is someone who doesn’t have a job and doesn’t know how to get a job,”  said Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham. “We need this. We have needed it for a long time.”

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area was one of 32 out of 509 applicants awarded funds from the Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge. The local organization received $12 million out of $500 million up for grabs for workforce development projects in rural communities surrounding Travis County.

“Our goal at the end of the day is to bring training and connection to employers so that individuals in the community can work where they live and they can continue to grow and expand their career,” said Diane Tackett, chief operations officer for Workforce Solutions RCA.

It is common for young people to leave their communities to seek training and not return, forcing local employers to recruit from elsewhere, Tackett told DailyTrib.com.

“We are working hard to bring training to communities where individuals want to live and work,” she continued.

Sara McKinney is a medical assistant who took advantage of Workforce Solutions RCA’s Rural Healthcare Initiative, which is paying for her higher education. 

“It’s been a big relief to have something like this,” McKinney said.

Workforce Solutions RCA funding covers books, gas, uniforms, and excess tuition.

Early child care assistance is also available for those who take on job training through Workforce Solutions, Tackett added.

“Even though this investment is coming to train and support adults, we have supports as well for families that have children that need a quality safe place for their children to go during the day,” she said.

For more information on job training opportunities through Workforce Network Inc., visit its website. For more on opportunities through Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area, visit its training webpage.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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