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New workforce initiative coming to Texas

By Megan Wehring

HAYS COUNTY — Aim Hire is collaborating with Texas 2036 as a new workforce initiative to help close the employment gap that has troubled many. Searching for quality, high-paying jobs has proven to be more of a challenge over the years, especially with the ongoing pandemic that has caused an increased unemployment rate. 

Texas 2036 is a data-driven non-profit organization working with Aim Hire Texas to bring an almost real-time analysis of the state’s workforce. Aim Hire will also seek to expand programs to provide Texas with jobs while also giving employers access to candidates who meet their needs.

Lee Jackson, Texas 2036 senior advisor, said there needs to be more research and data to determine which degrees and training leads to career success. 

“How do we qualify more Texans for high-paying jobs that have a future, as opposed to dead-end jobs that are sort of urgent necessities that won’t help you support a family or go anywhere in your career,” Jackson told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch. 

Texas 2036 seeks to look at what current employers need that isn’t easily attainable in Texas, according to Jackson. He also explained that prospective employees tackle many barriers when it comes to the job search, including finding the best degree that will stand out among the rest.

While Aim Hire is a statewide initiative, Jackson said Texas 2036 may go to the local level and “help connect employers in Hays County to programs that are working elsewhere.”

Career discovery happens earlier than college: it happens right at the tail end of high school. Jackson said, after the data is established, high school students may have more transparency when it comes to choosing their career path.

“We want to take what we find about career paths in Texas to show a Hays County student, even more precisely, how much we need this particular kind of health care professional or technology and here are the credentials,” Jackson told the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch.

Minimum wage or first-year salary isn’t the only detail; an applicant should pay close attention to career elevation for the long-run, Jackson explained.

Some candidates may have found applying for jobs to be difficult due to high competition or lack of necessary experience. Jackson encouraged Texans to reach out to Texas 2036 about barriers in the system.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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