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College grads can't satisfy talent pools for Central Texas jobs so companies are looking elsewhere


As Central Texas sees company relocations and expansions, there’s a demand for talent. But what are companies doing as the typical pipelines aren’t filling the needed slots like they used to?

That topic came up during the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association annual conference and expo this week.

KXAN reports that semiconductor chips manufacturer Applied Materials noted that their needs now extend beyond partnerships with four-year schools like The University of Texas at Austin.

So filling in those gaps is key, especially as Samsung brings a $17 billion facility to Taylor and the CHIPS and Science Act signed by President Biden in August could ramp up chipmaking locally.

That’s where others such as Austin Community College and Skillpoint Alliance come in.

Skillpoint CEO Kevin Brackmeyer talked to Austonia about how their group’s free program is designed to replicate working at a manufacturing plant over the course of six weeks.

Earlier this year, the nonprofit reported a class with a record number of women, and has continued attracting others often through word of mouth, Brackmeyer said. Many are drawn to the program due to its rapid pace and the chance it offers to become qualified for a job without getting saddled with debt.

“This benefits our students who need to find employment quickly, and also fill those positions that employers are desperate to fill,” Brackmeyer said.

Attracting people who are ready to work is just the first hurdle. Austin has become a hot spot for young workers, so figuring out what these employees value is critical.

Brackmeyer said that when it comes to retaining young or early career workers, it helps to lay out a trajectory of where the job is headed so that they can feel like they’re building a career. And while professional development is a big ticket item, Brackmeyer said there are even more job qualities that are important for people who start out with training at Skillpoint.

“Doing things like offering great benefits, great pay, flex time is important. Just things that show the employee that they matter,” Brackmeyer said. “I think students really want to feel part of the organization and want to be a part of something important and big.”

Looking ahead, Brackmeyer thinks there are areas outside of manufacturing where Skillpoint’s programs can aid in funneling talent that’s hard to get elsewhere.

“In Taylor, they have to build that facility and they're going to need electricians, they're going to need plumbers and they're gonna need HVAC technicians, so there's a lot of opportunity,” Brackmeyer said.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway