Job Creation Partners

One of the biggest challenges for today’s workforce is finding skilled workers for the jobs available.  Recently President Obama spoke at Northern Virginia Community College unveiling the proposed federal budget.  The new federal budget proposed included $8 billion for the Community College to Career Fund.  While the funding can help pay for training in high demand occupations, President Obama also urged businesses and community colleges to partner to help recently trained job seekers find work once they graduate.  During his speech, President Obama emphasized matching up the available workers with available jobs.

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Secretary of Labor Encourages Closer Ties Between Employers and Governmental Programs

If it seems that the Texas Workforce Commission has been busier than usual it is because they have been.  The Texas unemployment rate has risen slightly over the past year; however, the TWC will soon be receiving additional support to allow for local collaboration of government and business forces.  The Secretary of Labor released a statement on Thursday, February 16, 2012, announcing the continuation of a need to build “strong partnerships between employers and federally funded workforce programs.”  The Government Accountability Office reports that such programs “lead to improved employment and retention outcomes for our nation’s workers.”  The report also encourages the nation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which once allowed businesses to participate in local efforts to deliver Workforce Development Services.

Extra Support Necessary for First Generation College Students

USA Today reports 89% of all low-income, first generation students drop out of college within the first year.  This is a significant number, but even more so, approximately 30%, of all entering freshman are first generation college students, the majority being low income.  Institutions of higher education are facing this nationwide issue as millions of students and their families continue to enter through our higher education system each year.

First generation college students around the country often enter post-secondary education without the home support needed to make it through the first year of college.  While a student’s family may be supportive of the choice to go to college, the families of first generation students lack the college experience needed in order to truly know how to support their child’s needs.

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Job Skills for Ex-Felons Key to Breaking Generational Cycle

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of approximately$30 million in grants through its Training and Service Learning program for projects to help young adult ex-offenders gain valuable job skills while giving back to their communities. This type of funding is a huge step forward for ex-offenders attempting re-entry into the workforce as it helps to gain job skills while fostering a service minded/community focused ideology.

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Manufacturing is the Future?

American manufacturing was in the spotlight this week as the Department of Labor Secretary visited the General Motors (GM) plant in Maryland. This plant builds state-of-the-art engine transmissions and is poised to be the first to design and build the first electric motor. GM is bringing over 200 positions from abroad to assist with these projects. This move is a direct response to President Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ Address to begin “in-sourcing” or “on-shoring” jobs with the hopes of lowering the unemployment rate and bringing jobs to American workers. He also suggested incentives such as trade enforcement measures, tax breaks, and worker training programs to increase manufacturing jobs in the United States. In fact, according to a federal publication “The U.S. Automotive Industry: National and State Trends in Manufacturing Employment”, Texas is the eighth largest state by automotive employment. From 2003-2008, automotive manufacturing jobs increased by 5,200 jobs.

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YouthBuild: Building a Better Tomorrow Today

With the full implementation of the YouthBuild Transfer Act of 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has taken a step in the right direction. A recent national survey and research report released by America’s Promise Alliance shows that nearly three out of four youth ages 16-24 who are not enrolled in school, are unemployed and do not have a college degree are confident and hopeful that they will be able to achieve their goals in life. So contrary to common belief, being “disconnected” or “at-risk” does not mean a lack of career or educational aspirations.

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Workforce Training for Youth: A Global Perspective

The issue of adequate training for youth entering the workforce is a global one.  An article from the New York Times, “For London Youth, Down and Out is a Way of Life” talks about the difficulty that London youth, ages 16-24, have in finding employment.

The main issue in London seems to be that the government and corporations are focusing their attention on workers over 25, who are given access to internships, apprenticeships and other training programs.  For youth under 25, it seems, they are being overlooked, and many of the individuals who were interviewed in the article cannot afford to pay for college or to pay for further training.

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The Education Gap Begins Early

The significant difference in academic success of upper-income students and lower-income students comes as no surprise, for me. The lack of a mentally stimulating environment, as it relates to formal education, could be a contributing factor for this phenomenon. Children from more affluent homes have access to books at an early age, are encouraged to play with educational toys, participate in story time, gain exposure through family trips, model their more successful parents behaviors, and the list goes on.

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Veterans Often Possess Soft Skills

Cheers of pride and excitement can be heard around the country now that our troops are getting to come home from Iraq.  While sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, come home to make American families whole once again, the underlying fear of unemployment is undeniably overwhelming in these soldiers’ mind.  President Obama has been working to develop an effective program to help train and/or provide jobs for our military veterans.

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Tech Companies Shift Focus

A few years ago, American technology companies- content with making minor upgrades to many of the hardware devices on the market- turned their focus to writing software.  Job boards were filled with open positions for software engineers and we as a country were importing thousands of software engineers to fill these positions every year.  As competition in the software field has increased from countries like India and China, it appears that our technology companies are shifting focus back to designing hardware and manufacturing.

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