Workforce Solutions offices help job seekers find a job, keep a job, or get a better job! You may have been in the same job or industry for years, but for a variety of reasons, may have never been able to move up in the company or increase your salary to a more sustainable income level. It may be that you need to complete your High School Equivalency (GED), take some English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, or get other training and certifications to help you increase your earnings potential. I’d like to give you some direction on having a brighter future that doesn’t take years and years of your time.
The Gulf Coast Region works with a number of local community colleges that provide grant funded GED and ESL programs throughout the 13 counties that comprise the region. And best of all the classes are free. If you did not graduate from high school, consider taking classes that will move you towards the Texas Certificate of High School Equivalency (TxHSE.) Once you’ve completed the coursework, Workforce Solutions may be able to assist you with paying for the exam. There are a wide variety of classes, times, days of the week and locations, so you should be able to find a program that fits in with your schedule. Go to Workforce Solutions Adult Education and Literacy and click on the map for locations. You can also call or visit a Workforce Solutions Office to get assistance with finding a program near you.
Other programs offered by our local community colleges include workforce programs that are taken semester by semester. Workforce programs are designed to be “stackable,” which means that each semester leads to another certificate level, or eventually to an Associate’s Degree if that is something you are interested in. For example, I could take one semester of Welding and earn a Level 1 Certificate; I could then begin earning about $18 an hour. But there’s more! I could work towards the Level 2 Certificate and increase my salary, or even end up with an Associate’s Degree in Welding, making me very marketable. Many of the workforce programs are designed for that purpose. Check out your local community college to see what workforce programs they have to offer. At the same time, be sure that it is considered an in-demand job, or even a high-skill, high-growth occupation that guarantees you will find a job easily in the field you are interested in. Workforce Solutions may be able to provide scholarship assistance depending upon eligibility requirements and if the occupation is high-skill, high-growth.
Finally, if you have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey or have been unemployed for a while, Workforce Solutions has information on a number of short-term introductory courses in construction-related fields. The courses are designed to be short-term and fast-paced in basic construction skills such as dry-walling, plumbing, welding and HVAC installation, with the specific purpose of getting individuals employed quickly. And the best part – the courses are free. What is keeping you from getting more education and training in order to improve your income and future potential?
Velta Worley is a member of the Regional Navigator Team specializing in training, educating, and assisting community partners, Workforce Solutions staff, and job seekers throughout the 13 county region with adult education and literacy, and employment for people experiencing homelessness. She has over 8 years corporate management experience, and over 8 years with Workforce Solutions as a Facilitator, Technical Assistant, and Office Manager, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University.