December 2019 Newsletter
This edition includes info on awards, events, regional highlights, labor market data, and more.

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

'Tis The Season For Celebrating

As 2019 comes to a close, Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas has a bounty of successes to celebrate. Unprecedented growth among employers, historically low unemployment, the largest Red, White, & You Job Fair to date, expanded CDA and training opportunities for child care providers, high school seniors finding their path at What's Next, BCMA emerging as a leading partnership model, conferences and events for foster youth and students with disabilities, teachers working side-by-side with industry at externship placements, a National Disability Employment Awareness Month proclamation, additional investment in Kirby Lake Nature Park, a new program with boots on the ground getting workforce information into schools, and students exploring careers with WOW Youth Expo and Careers in Action. What a year!

It's fitting that we close out 2019 with a win for the Service to Community Award at the Texas Workforce Commission’s 23rd Annual Texas Workforce Conference held December 4-6, 2019 in Grapevine. The trophy and $30,000 prize recognize our partnership with the City of Abilene and commitment to developing the Kirby Lake Nature Play Area as an outdoor learning space to serve all residents and providers around the region, but especially the youngest members of our future workforce!
Our own BWJ Metalworks was a statewide finalist for Small Employer of the Year and named Local Employer of Excellence in West Central Texas. BWJ and President, Bob Johnson, work diligently as a family-owned business to support employees and develop a pipeline of skilled workers for the manufacturing industry. We will recognize them with an award presentation at the upcoming regularly scheduled Board meeting on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 12:00pm in the Lonestar Room on the 12th Floor of the Enterprise Building in Abilene. In addition, Lowes Store #0138 will be honored as the Veteran Friendly Employer of the Year.

Event Highlights

Child Care Quality Initiatives

Workforce Solutions continues to provide fun and engaging learning opportunities for area child providers and children in their care with an exciting winter break adventure featuring Dr. Rick Hammer from Hardin-Simmons University as Dr. Bot! Two sessions will be offered at Kirby Lake Nature Play Area on December 30th at 10:00am for preschool students and 3:00pm for school age students. We are also offering travel stipends to eligible providers outside of Taylor County who wish to attend! View the flyer for details or contact Mindy Ross, Child Care Quality Specialist via email
Learn More

Career & Education Outreach

February is Celebrate Careers Month and we're asking schools to take the pledge to create a career culture on their campus. Schools take the pledge and we send them free stuff to encourage career exploration including: bulletin board materials, interactive career activities, informational posters, stickers, and a banner. It's a win-win! Celebrate Careers Month is a great opportunity for employers and business leaders to connect with local schools to support development of the talent pipeline! Follow along with everything happening in February 2020 on Instagram @wowyouthprogram or join in using #celebratecareers on social.
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Around The Region

Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas awarded $15,000 in prizes to Careers in Action video contest finalists at the Red Carpet Premiere in October. Check it out!
The Big Country Manufacturing Alliance's quarterly event convened manufacturers and support partners from around the region on Thursday, November 14th at USG in Sweetwater. Participants took a facility tour and heard presentations on lean manufacturing processes and industry-education connections from our Career & Education Outreach program.
View the Economic Profile for West Central (October 2019)
View the Economic Profile for Abilene MSA (October 2019)

Calendar Of Events

12/18: Workforce Solutions Board Meeting (Lonestar Room) - 12pm
12/25-12/26: Christmas Holiday - All Offices Closed
12/30: Dr. Bot's Nature Adventure (Kirby Lake) - 10am & 2pm
1/1: New Year's Holiday - All Offices Closed
Copyright © 2019 Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas Board, All rights reserved.

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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).