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Waco: program offering additional job training

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:15 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - There are more than 900,000 jobs available in Texas, according to job sites from the Texas Workforce Commission, and a local program is helping people get more training to fill those positions.

UpSkill Waco, which is a part of Prosper Waco, offers shorter term training programs and credentials to help people, especially underemployed young adults, become more qualified for better jobs.

The program partners with McLennan Community College, Texas State Technical College and the Heart of Texas Goodwill to offer the training.

In addition to the training, the program offers support afterward to help participants find jobs. Tiffany Gallegos Whitley, director of workforce initiatives at Prosper Waco, said even before the pandemic, there was a need in the community for a program like this.

“We knew based on our local labor market data that we do have a high population of people that are working lower wage, lower skilled jobs,” Gallegos Whitley said. “And then the pandemic hit, our unemployment rate rose, and it still didn’t get rid of that need.”

Gallegos Whitley said a skilled workforce is beneficial, not only for participants, but also for the community.

“From health, financial security, as well as our local economy as well, as people are making more, they’re able to spend more, and I think that’s a positive benefit,” Gallegos Whitley said. “We want to be a place where employers come to build their business, and know that they have a field here that they can pull from.”

Right now, the program offers courses in construction, industrial maintenance and hospitality. Gallegos Whitley said they know college isn’t for everyone, and they want to offer another resource, especially for people who are currently working and need something flexible.

“We want to have a system in place for people that want to go to work, to be able to do that, and have opportunity to get in, get a good job, make a good living, and then have the opportunity to get skilled as they move along in their job or career path,” Gallegos Whitley said.

There are several training courses beginning next month, and you can find more information about them, as well as apply on the UpSkill Waco website. If people need financial assistance, there are scholarships available.

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