Workforce Solutions Capital Area relocated its North Austin career center to a nearly 71,000-square-foot facility near Rundberg Lane in Northeast Austin after the lease of its previous location—on Airport Boulevard, north of the ACC Highland development—expired.
The new center opened July 8, after Workforce Solutions received nearly a half a million dollars from Travis County to offset the moving costs and allow for an expansion of services down the line.
Workforce Solutions CEO Tamara Atkinson provided an update on the center and its operations at an Oct. 1 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court.
The area nonprofit supports workforce development for low-income clients and has three full-service career centers in Travis County.
“We are the flagship facility,” Atkinson told commissioners at an Oct. 1. “We are the largest career center in the state of Texas providing comprehensive services in East Austin.”
The new location is nearly twice the size of the previous one and offers three times as many meeting rooms to allow clients to have private conversations with staff, Atkinson said.
Additionally, the center offers a child waiting room, stocked with donated materials.
“Over 60% of Workforce Solutions’ budget is for subsidized child care,” Atkinson said. “Many of our clients come to our facility with children in tow.”
The organization focuses on establishing a pipeline for Austin residents seeking employment through apprenticeship programs and partnerships with other area nonprofits that offer job training and support.
“We at Workforce Solutions know that the nature of work is changing,” Atkinson said.
These programs also meet clients where they are, whether that is in a two-year associate degree program or somewhere else.
“There’s a significant cohort of our Travis County neighbors for whom going back to school is a bridge too far,” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said, adding that an apprenticeship program to become an electrician may have more appeal. “This is a familiar place for them, a sense of belonging and community that makes it possible to get that kind of training without sitting in a classroom, which has become a symbol of otherness for them.”