North Austin career center to relocate this summer, despite funding challenges

Travis County commissioners received an update on the North Career Center at a meeting March 26.

Travis County commissioners received an update on the North Career Center at a meeting March 26.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area will relocate its North Austin Center from Airport Boulevard to Northeast Austin this summer after receiving nearly half a million dollars from Travis County, despite ongoing funding challenges.

The area nonprofit supports workforce development for low-income clients and has three full-service career centers in Travis County.

The lease on its largest center—the North Career Center, located at 6505 Airport Blvd., Ste. 101—expires this June, but rents are rising too rapidly for the organization to stay in the 38,000-square-foot facility, Workforce Solutions CEO Tamara Atkinson told county commissioners in January.

As a result, Workforce Solutions is relocating the center to a new 65,000-square-foot facility near Rundberg Lane in Northeast Austin, which will also allow the organization to serve more clients because of its increased capacity.

The organization has signed a lease for the new space and is scheduled to relocate the week of June 21, reopening July 1, Lawrence Lyman, director of the county’s research and planning division, told commissioners at a March 26 meeting.

Travis County commissioners approved a one-time investment of $496,000 in the organization in January to offset the moving costs and allow for an expansion of services down the line.

Even with this influx of funding, however, Workforce Solutions faces a budget deficit and is working to stave off further cuts to programming and possible staff layoff, Atkinson said.

Earlier this year, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said she asked the city of Austin to make a similar contribution to the organization as the county did.

Workforce Solutions is in ongoing talks with the city’s economic development department to secure additional funding, according to Lyman.

“In any case, even if the city doesn’t participate, that doesn’t change the need that Workforce Solutions has to get them over this gap where they are utilizing federal funding for this construction that they would otherwise be using toward services,” Eckhardt said the same day.
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