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Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area Launches Strategic Plan to Enhance Workforce Development Efforts Across Central Texas

Mar 31, 2021
Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area

CEDAR PARK, Texas ⎯ Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA), the non-profit community partnership providing no-cost recruitment and employment services in the nine-county Rural Capital Area of Central Texas, introduced its Strategic Workforce Plan during a live kickoff event on Wednesday. The WSRCA Strategic Plan is focused on enhancing community collaboration around workforce development to amplify the impact of workforce initiatives and programs across the region.

Each of the nine counties within the Rural Capital Area has a distinct economy and workforce that reflects their unique histories and environmental features, as well as natural resources and amenities.

Delivering sustainable workforce solutions to such a diverse and large service area requires much more than a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires careful planning and a great deal of coordination to leverage the many resources and opportunities that each county has.

It’s with this in mind that WSRCA embarked on developing strategic plans tailored for each county and a common regional strategic framework and plan. The goals of the Plan include strengthening community collaborations at the regional and county level through the formation of Workforce Matters Coalitions, identifying solutions for structural barriers, enhancing the area’s employer-led and demand-driven workforce system, and creating pathways to self-sufficient employment and career advancement for Central Texans.

The overall strategy will guide WSRCA’s work over the next 3 years and includes a specific plan customized for each county and an overarching regional plan that draws from common elements in the county plans.

The WSRCA project team conducted a survey of stakeholders and held workshops and forums in each county from 2019 through 2020, to identify workforce issues and challenges within our communities. Through this process, common challenges and issues emerged.

This feedback helped WSRCA develop the goals and strategies of the Plan, providing a shared agenda and common framework for the region.

“We believe it’s important to document the employer needs in each of our nine counties along with the skill sets of the labor force, to address the gaps between skills needed and skills available,” said WSRCA CEO Paul Fletcher. “Then by area, our Workforce Matters Coalitions can work to address those gaps, through various means such as education/training and removal of barriers, such as transportation, access to high-quality child care, workforce housing, and access to broadband internet.”

A key element to the mission of the plan is strengthening our region’s employer-driven workforce system. Employers play an active role by providing input on the skills and competencies they need and give feedback on the quality of workforce training programs and services.

“Major industries within our region will benefit from the Plan, by having a steady talent supply chain that will not only meet the needs of current employers but will be ready to expand to meet the needs of future enterprises that will relocate to our area because of our highly skilled workforce,” said WSRCA COO, Diane Tackett.

Another key element of the mission of the Plan is self-sufficient employment. Achieving this goal starts with building greater career awareness and connections between job seekers and employers in the region. WSRCA will continue its work to ensure that training programs for high-demand careers are accessible to job seekers and will meet the needs of employers.

“We’re excited that the Plan will help establish and strengthen well-defined pathways to help guide job seekers into high-demand career opportunities that provide family-supporting wages and opportunities for advancement,” added Fletcher.

The Workforce Matters Coalitions are the key to the implementation of the strategic plan.

Champions will be selected in each county to come together in the Workforce Matters Coalitions Leadership Council. The Council will plan regional activities to support the work of the coalitions, share resources, fundraise, and track metrics.

The Child Care Workforce Matters Coalition, led by the WSRCA Child Care Champion, will lead the work of the Early Learning Coalitions in the counties.

“As we have seen during the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that high-quality child care is available to allow parents to go to work. Quality child care not only ensures safe places for kids to be but creates excellent learning environments that ensure our kids are preparing for successful entry into school and beyond,” added Tackett.

WSRCA Area injects more than $20 million annually into the regional child care system. This system serves more than 5,000 children through our network of nearly 300 child care providers.

The launch and support of early-learning coalitions by WSRCA in each county will increase the quality and quantity of child care across the region.

WSRCA will be introducing each of the county plans during Workforce Matters Coalition meetings, which will be held in each county in the coming months. Check back for event dates.

Review a copy of the Plan below:

Click for a printable copy of this news release.

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area is a nonprofit community partnership providing no-cost recruitment, employment services, and childcare assistance, to businesses, employers, and job seekers in the Rural Capital Area of central Texas. This nine-county region includes Bastrop; Blanco; Burnet; Caldwell; Fayette; Hays; Lee; Llano; and Williamson counties. For more details on WSRCA and the services it offers, visit www.workforcesolutionsrca.com.