By BF Editors
From the May / June 2023 Issue
Training and retaining a workforce that is ready for the current and emerging needs calls for a business to have partnerships with a variety of groups—industry peers and associations, education institutions, state and local governments, and others. Business leaders are in the position to communicate the real demand they are facing into their industry, and for their individual company and situation.
One federal resource available through the U.S. Department of Labor are Workforce Development Boards (WDBs), designed to facilitate connections between businesses, community colleges, workforce agencies, and others to maximize the productivity and success in their particular region. Part of the public workforce system, WDBs are a network of federal, state, and local offices that support economic expansion and develop the nation’s workforce.
Typically, each state has a WDB that links statewide business interests with U.S. Department of Labor efforts, as well as local WDBs that connect local businesses with the American Job Centers in their area. American Job Centers help businesses with recruiting, hiring, and training their workforce. As part of their function, WDBs facilitate partnerships between local businesses with similar training needs. Whether working with a government program like a WDB, private higher education institution, or economic development group, businesses have growing options for workforce training in 2023. Following are examples of programs that communities across the U.S. have in place.
Amarillo, Texas: Supporting A Thriving Workforce
Due to its rapid growth and prime location, many large-scale companies have their sights set on Amarillo, TX. With the city welcoming several new companies to the area, the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (Amarillo EDC) and its valued partners are prioritizing workforce development, training, and support.
Of course, strong candidates and a quality workforce come from education and opportunities for professional development. The five local school districts are highly dedicated to preparing students for the future. Amarillo Independent School District offers more than a dozen certification opportunities and opened its first premier career and technical education high school, AmTech Career Academy, in 2021. AmTech offers hands-on experiences in more than 30 career pathways, enabling students to explore future educational and career opportunities—for free—while still in high school. Canyon Independent School District is another prime example partnering with three of the largest area employers to align student skills with workforce needs through their Manufacturing Academy.
Amarillo is also home to West Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine, and Wayland Baptist University producing thousands of graduates ready to immediately enter the workforce. Amarillo College, recognized as one of the top five community colleges in the nation, provides workforce support with an extensive offering of job certifications and training for the area’s top employers. The college offers programs in business, creative arts, health services, and STEM.
Elevate Amarillo and Leadership Amarillo & Canyon are examples of organizations working with young professionals to grow their network and teach valuable skills to be applied in the workplace.
In addition to education, the community is committed to professional development through networking and leadership opportunities. Several organizations and companies partner together to provide the tools necessary for the young workforce to succeed. Elevate Amarillo and Leadership Amarillo & Canyon are examples of organizations working with young professionals to grow their network and teach valuable skills to be applied in the workplace. These courses are centered around technical training, servant leadership, vision, and change.
Uncover Amarillo: Intern Experience, put together by the Amarillo EDC, builds connections and introduces up and coming talent to the Amarillo lifestyle. The Amarillo EDC hosts social events to help interns meet peers, provide information about housing, things to do, and places to eat. The program served 30 interns from 17 different companies in 2022.
Amarillo EDC also launched an online resource platform, known as Take Root in Amarillo, providing information such as cost of living, quality of life, and a job matching database. Whether someone is currently job hunting or simply wants to know more about where their specific skillset can take them, Job Up matches participating companies with candidates based on their preferred location, salary, industry, and position type. The platform also generates a communication style report with a candidate’s top five language processing skills and thinking style. In conjunction with these programs, Amarillo EDC works closely with incoming companies, human resource professionals, and staffing agencies to identify the community’s hiring needs and build connections to assist in job development.
Visit www.amarilloedc.com for more information.