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September 2022 Newsletter
This edition includes: labor market data, child care funding, career mentorship, special initiatives, and upcoming events.

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Our mission:
Providing resources for good jobs, strong employers, and a healthy regional economy

In This Edition

Labor Market Information

Source: Texas Workforce Commission

Board Announcements

September is Workforce Development Month, and we'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the many amazing workforce development professionals we have on staff in West Central Texas helping to move our regional economy forward. Workforce Development Month was created in 2005 by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) to raise awareness about the importance of our industry to a growing national economy. Originally celebrated in May, NAWDP moved the designation to September in 2012. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2021 naming September Workforce Development Month. Workforce development provides critical connections in communities between businesses and the education, training, and resources necessary to create a labor force of qualified workers.
Thank you to the many partners and supporters working with us to prepare the future workforce and to all those who were able to attend our official grant announcement last month for the $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve postsecondary outcomes for rural students.

Check out the video below to learn more about our Youth Success Program in partnership with rootEd Alliance. This is just one of many programs, initiatives, and activities we will be able to expand to help support rural students and improve postsecondary outcomes.
Welcome to our Youth Success Program. The future is limitless...
Elizabeth Portela
Workforce Career & Education Outreach Specialist 

Fun Fact: I could eat pizza everyday and never get tired of it. Pepperoni and bacon, please! 
Julie Paredes
Youth Success Advisor

Fun Fact: I didn’t know English until I was 4.5 years old and am a fluent Spanish speaker. I’m a dog(s) and cat mom working on my Masters in Educational Leadership.

Regional Highlights

Congratulations to Jennifer Gonzalez and The Agape Center on receiving the very first Quality Seal from the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children for their outdoor learning environment. Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE!) Texas is a statewide initiative that promotes healthful, nature-based outdoor learning spaces at early childcare and education (ECE) programs. This promotes physical activity and hands-on discovery. Young minds have big opportunities to grow in the great outdoors!

Career Education

Our Career Mentorship Program pairs adult mentors from local businesses and organizations with high school seniors to help support and guide their career journey. Through mentoring, high school seniors explore their strengths and areas of opportunity, discuss college and career plans, learn about workplace communication, dig into leadership styles, find out how to influence and lead others, and much more.

Fall 2022 mentoring will be here soon! The program commitment is one meeting per week for six to nine weeks. All training and materials are provided. Contact Kortni Collins, Rural Partnerships Coordinator, via email for more information. Committing to mentor a student for just one hour each week can impact their life & career path!
Become A Mentor
Members of our Youth Success team participated in the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) conference with partners from rootEd Alliance to highlight the work we're doing with dedicated Advisors in schools helping rural students build a bridge to postsecondary and career success.

Child Care

Applications are OPEN for the Texas Child Care Provider Expansion Grant, a new funding opportunity for home and center-based child care providers opening or expanding in a child care desert, in partnership with a local employer, or to increase infant care. The Texas Workforce Commission launched this initiative to build the supply of high-quality child care across Texas by providing support to child care businesses creating capacity to help offset costs incurred during launch and the first few months of operation. Resources and support including business coaching and technical assistance are also available free of charge to child care providers!
Child Care Capacity Expansion Grant
Our Child Care Quality team welcomed 45 providers to an early childhood education in-service training on Saturday, Sept. 10 presented by Camp Fire First Texas. Participants received training hours on brain development, social-emotional learning, classroom management, and more.

Upcoming Events

Workforce Solutions Board Member Orientation
Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas will host a board member orientation on Wednesday, September 21 at 10:30 a.m. in the Lonestar Room on the 12th floor of the Enterprise building. The event is open to all members and will include a tour of the Abilene Workforce Center, short orientation, and deep dive into one of our core focus areas. Lunch will be provided.
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Workforce Solutions of West Central TX is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids and services are available, upon request, to individuals with disabilities. Relay Texas: 1-800-735-2989 or 1-800-735-2988 (Voice).