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Statesman Article Highlights Need for Skilled Trades

Workforce chairman: Manufacturing, skilled trades key to Texas economy

By Laylan CopelinAMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Published: 8:41 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012

[This article can be found at: http://www.statesman.com/business/workforce-chairman-manufacturing-skilled-trades-key-to-texas-2128472.html%5D

Manufacturing is the key to Texas’ economic future, but a shortage of skilled workers demands a new emphasis on skilled trades in public schools, several witnesses told state lawmakers Thursday.

“We have steadily de-emphasized vocational and technical training, preferring to pursue a one-size-fits-all approach, which says that everyone should attend a four-year university,” said Tom Pauken, chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission.

Although Texas lost 250,000 manufacturing jobs over the past decade, manufacturing firms are complaining of a shortage of skilled workers, Pauken told the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.

The hardest jobs to fill in the U.S. are for skilled trades, Pauken said, citing the 2011 Manpower Group report. He said teaching skilled trades, such as welding, pipefitting and electrical work, in public schools could affect the dropout rate by giving students a chance to train for a good-paying job.

Pauken’s testimony came as the House committee is studying how well Texas has promoted development in its six industry clusters and whether other industries should get special attention.

Those clusters are aerospace and defense; advanced technologies and manufacturing; biotechnology and life sciences; energy; information and computer technology; and petroleum refining and chemical products.

Pauken said Texas has been turning to community colleges to train workers when an employer moves to the state.

“We need to do more than fill in the gaps on an ad hoc basis,” Pauken said. “We must have a long-term plan that begins educating young Texans in skilled trades long before we get a call from an employer telling us that the local labor market isn’t meeting its needs.”

Pauken said public schools should offer more courses in skilled trades and create separate performance tests — one for students who plan to attend college and one for students in skilled trades.

Several representatives of the state’s manufacturing sector echoed Pauken’s testimony.

On another topic, Austin lawyer Pike Powers, an economic development expert, warned that portions of Texas outside the large metro areas are getting left behind.

Powers said the state should ensure that resources, such as high-speed computers at the University of Texas, are shared. He noted that the Texas Advanced Computing Center has three times the capacity of the state’s other public universities combined.

“We’ve got to pay attention to the rest of Texas,” Powers said.

Powers also provided a “Texas Performance Scorecard” by Harvard professor Michael E. Porter, an expert in industry clusters.

It showed that through 2009, Texas was good at job creation and new business formation but needs improvement in productivity and innovation.

Powers said innovation requires quantity, quality and velocity — the ability to transform innovation into new products and services quickly.

Texas is good at the first two, but it’s “very bad” at creating products and services quickly from its innovations, he said.

“That is a major reason why our global competitors seem very close in the rearview mirror,” Powers said.

He suggested that the state should emphasize industry clusters by promoting a dozen regional research parks as public-private partnerships.

He said choosing a cluster is “not central planning, socialism or ‘picking winners.'”

“A cluster is already a proven winner,” Powers said. “A cluster initiative is about doing what you would have done anyway, but being able to achieve it five to 10 times faster.”

lcopelin@statesman.com; 445-3617

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If you agree with what you just read, make sure and visit our Gateway Homepage to find out how Skillpoint Alliance is contributing.

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Gateway: The Playhouse Project to Display Playhouses at The Domain

Gateway: The Playhouse Project logoGateway: The Playhouse Project is getting geared up to begin its inaugural year this fall and we’re very excited to announce a partnership with the wonderful and generous team at The Domain. The upscale shopping center in North Austin has agreed to let Skillpoint Alliance showcase the completed playhouses that will be auctioned off at the end of the Gateway: The Playhouse Project program year.

Details for the partnership are still being developed and will be announced upon their completion, but we wanted to show some love right away. Thank you Domain Team!

If you aren’t familiar with The Domain, check out their website at http://www.thedomainaustin.com/.

If you haven’t heard about Gateway: The Playhouse Project, visit the program’s homepage at http://www.skillpointalliance.org/gateway/ThePlayhouseProject.
Don’t forget to check out our other great Gateway programs while you’re there.

15th Annual College and Career Expo Approaching!

College & Career Expo 2011 Logo

Since its inception in 1996, Skillpoint Alliance’s College and Career Expo has grown to serve over 3,000 high school juniors  and seniors. Participating students have the opportunity to meet with industry professionals and college recruiters, and they are provided with many resources needed to prepare themselves for career and college readiness.The 2011 College and Career Expo will be Thursday, October 6, 2011, from 9am-1pm at the Palmer Events Center. Mark your calendars!

Students interested in attending college will receive information about college applications, financial aid, and attendance, and a special focus is given to low-income/first generation students. By providing them with resources and information, educators at the College and Career expo give students a boost in college preparations, and get them on the right track to beginning a productive career in the Austin area.

Students also have the opportunity to visit with employers and industry professionals, who serve as career role models by showcasing businesses and services and guiding the interests of student attendees to help them decide on potential career paths they want to take. Industry, government, education, and non-profit representatives are invited to help students explore potential Central Texas career prospects that match their strengths and interests. By starting students on their career paths early, Skillpoint Alliance helps ensure a trained, skilled workforce for the Central Texas businesses of the future.

Sponsors
Skillpoint is excited to be hosting the 15th annual College and Career Expo, and we are still looking for sponsors! Sponsors can sign up by visiting our website, and more information can be found here. We’d also like to thank our primary sponsor, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, for their continued support of the College and Career Expo. Whether you are a student, educator, or employer, we hope to see you at the Palmer Events Center on October 6, where you can help us build a better Austin workforce.

February/March Round-Up

March 17, 2009 1 comment

I, your lovely little PR intern, will be the first one to admit that posting the last week or two has been pretty spotty. In my defense, my workload really picked up as we have a couple of really big projects coming down the line. But in all seriousness, I hope my blogging deficiency isn’t any inconvenience.

So in case you didn’t get your Skillpoint fill from the frequently delinquient blog, please check out our latest newsletter which hits the highlights of the last two months. I’ll be back to posting more in a week or so!

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs008/1102149831179/archive/1102467711433.html

Categories: Skillpoint News

Announcing Partnership with PR Firm TateAustinHahn!

March 16, 2009 1 comment

Skillpoint Alliance is pleased to announce our partnership with Austin PR firm TateAustinHahn. TateAustinHahn selected our nonprofit to participate in a messaging and branding workshop at no cost to us. Read more about this exciting new partnership in the news release from TateAustinHahn, which we’ve included below.

 

Ten Austin Nonprofits to Receive Free Communications Counsel from TateAustinHahn in 2009

 

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Local PR/public affairs firm will host brand and message workshops for each organization

 

AUSTIN, Texas – March 10, 2009 – Local public relations firm, TateAustinHahn, will provide 10 Central Texas nonprofit organizations with brand and message development workshops in 2009 at no cost to the nonprofits.

 

Led by principal Jeff Hahn, the workshops are designed to help each nonprofit define their audience, create compelling messages and develop outreach tactics. This planning will help each group target their communications efforts, which becomes increasingly important as the shrinking economy forces many organizations to operate with less funding.

 

Groups were selected on a first-to-register basis after TateAustinHahn advertised the workshops in the Austin Business Journal’s Philanthropy guide and through Leadership Austin, United Way and Greenlights for Nonprofit Success.

 

Nonprofits selected include:

 

  • Young Men’s Business League
  • Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation
  • Clean Air Force
  • Envision Central Texas
  • Skillpoint Alliance
  • Front Steps
  • American Gateways
  • The Arc of the Capital Area
  • E3 Alliance
  • Annette Strauss Institute

PeopleFund, United Way, Boys and Girls Club and the American Lung Association were some of the organizations that went through a TateAustinHahn workshop in 2008.

 

“It’s our 35th year of business and we think the best way to celebrate is by giving back to the organizations that help make our region better,” said Jeff Hahn, principal of TateAustinHahn. “Our hope is that in these difficult economic times, our expertise can help nonprofits more effectively reach their donors and supporters.”

 

For more information about the TateAustinHahn Message Workshops, visit

 

http://www.tateaustinhahn.com/goodwords

 

About TateAustinHahn –

 

http://www.tateaustinhahn.com

 

TateAustinHahn is an independent, full-service public relations and public affairs agency in business since 1974. The company builds business for its clients by helping develop stories, brands and reputations. The firm serves private companies, public agencies and nonprofit organizations, most often engaged in real estate, energy, transportation, healthcare, consumer and the arts.

 

Contact: Brian Dolezal at bdolezal@tateaustinhahn.com or 512-344-

Did You Know?

Skillpoint served nearly 40,000 people in 2008! Skillpoint’s programs  directly and indirectly reached a whopping 39,389 clients. We’re proud we were able to reach so many people and look forward to serving the community again in 2009.

Here’s some of the highlights of the report:

  • 92 educators of more than 11,000 students combined attended at least one Educator Institute
  • Another 92 educators attended Educator Conference 2009
  • More than 14,000 school aged students received college and career awareness training
  • CTTC saw 761 new clients in class this last year with 2,004 clients in all
  • Construction Gateway served 95 individuals
  • 204 Construction Gateway and CTTC clients received employment assistance
  • More than 8,000 students participated in Student Futures Project annual survey

To learn more or to request an official report, call David at 323-6773 ext. 123.