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Forum Held in Giddings to Enhance Workforce Opportunities

Author: 
GEDC

Giddings, TX (June 11, 2019) - — Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA) hosted a forum on June 4 at the Giddings Library and Cultural Center with the goal of generating awareness about workforce development programs and to solicit feedback about local needs.     The workforce board has been holding forums in each of the nine counties that it represents throughout the Rural Capital Area of central Texas and plans to include the feedback it receives from these efforts in its upcoming strategic planning.

The event, which was organized by the Giddings Area Chamber of Commerce, attracted business, civic and education leaders from throughout Lee County who participated in a collaborative discussion about the state of the local workforce. Lee County Judge Paul Fischer and County Commissioner Maurice Pitts participated in the workforce forum, along with the Giddings Economic Development Corporation, the Giddings Independent School District, Texas Bluebonnet Electrical Cooperative, the Office of U.S Rep. Michael McCaul, and a group of local business and other community leaders.  The meeting was facilitated by WSRCA Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Cara DiMattina-Ryan.

“At each of these meetings, WSRCA staff are seeking greater insight into the current and future growth and development plans that each county is working towards, with the purpose of tailoring their workforce strategies and initiatives to support each county’s success,” said DiMattina-Ryan. “We provide workforce-related data to the county stakeholders and they provide the workforce board with a broad view of the economic interests of the county.”

Workforce stakeholders participating in the forums have been asked to provide context and prioritize needs within their county. The information garnered from the discussions is being added to WSRCA’s strategic plan with the expectation that action steps will soon follow.

“We’re hoping to achieve greater engagement with all of our stakeholders in holding these county meetings,” said WSRCA CEO Paul Fletcher. “We want our work to reflect their goals.”

At the Lee County Workforce Forum, the group established that the workforce plan created for the County would have to be flexible to adapt over time to the County’s growth plan. With that flexibility, there is a preference for helping increase skilled trades certifications to support the booming demand for more workers in the construction industry, as well as oil and gas.

The discussions at the forum also identified a desire for providing financial literacy and business-related courses for the county’s workforce.

 “This type of training can really empower the community. Basic accounting helps to support the stability of the individuals entering the workforce. Entrepreneurship and business courses support increased financial opportunities for the people who want to live and work within the Lee County,” said DiMattina-Ryan.

In related news, in recent yearsboth the Giddings Area Chamber of Commerce and the Giddings Economic Development Corporation have ramped up their workforce development efforts to better support the needs of existing businesses. 

The Chamber hosts an annual job fair and a career awareness day for Giddings ISD students, as well as lunch and learn activities for its member businesses.

The Giddings EDC has provided training grants to Hughes Manufacturing, Janda Monuments and most recently TRITEC Performance Solutions; and has assisted Kaemark with securing a $220,000 Skills Development Fund training grant and TraeCo with securing a Skills for Small Business Training Grant, provided through the Texas Workforce Commission. 

The GEDC also recently hosted a four-day financial analysis training course called “Profit Mastery.” The course was conducted in Giddings for GEDC clients by representatives of the Texas State University Small Business Development Center who hope to return for a follow up course this fall. The GEDC also maintains close relationships with Blinn College and nearby universities through partnerships such identifying opportunities for professors and graduate students to work with local businesses and most recently by hosting a student intern from Texas A & M University.

“Our local workforce is our strongest asset, but like all assets, it needs to be retained, maintained and cultivated.  Without nurturing and support, skills degrade and workers leave for greener pastures.   We are all working very hard in Lee County to support our local workforce so that doesn’t happen,” stated Tonya Britton, Giddings Economic Development Director.

More on WSRCA:

WSRCA is a non-profit community partnership providing no cost recruitment, employment services and child care assistance, to businesses and job seekers in the Rural Capital Area of central Texas. This nine-county region includes Bastrop; Blanco; Burnet; Caldwell; Fayette; Hays; Lee; Llano; and Williamson counties. In 2018, WSRCA invested $23,290,543 in Rural Capital Area workforce funding, serving 3,829 employers, 17,846 job-seekers, and 2,269 veterans, as well as 5,320 children sponsored in child care, which has all contributed to the 2.4 percent unemployment rate we are experience now in the region.

 

For more details on WSRCA, and the services it offers, visit www.workforcesolutionsrca.com.