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Nearly 500,000 Texas Youth Are Considered 'Disconnected,’ So Here's What The State Is Doing To Reach Them Through Apprenticeship Training

Published Sunday, July 26, 2020
by Erica Proffer/KVUE-ABC-TV
Nearly 500,000 Texas Youth Are Considered 'Disconnected,’ So Here's What The State Is Doing To Reach Them Through Apprenticeship Training

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) - Nearly a half-million youth, 16 to 24 years old, are not enrolled in any classes this coming year in the State of Texas.  Even though they’re considered “disconnected” the state deems them “opportunity youth” for their potentialAnd even though Texas is among the highest in the Nation with youth out of school and out of work, the state wants to reach them during the COVID-19 Pandemic, offering money for Apprenticeships.

Here’s KVUE/ABC-TV’s Erica Proffer interviewing a spokesman for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)”

Profer: How are Apprenticeships different now than prior to COVID-19?

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) spokesman: Most classes are on-line.  On-the-job training includes safety measures related to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state agencies.  Depending on the occupation, classes moved to on-line/virtual classes and some occupations were already holding on-line/virtual classes.  The Department of Labor-Office of Apprenticeship (DOL-OA) has provided technical assistance to programs on how to continue quality industry training during COVID-19.  COVID-19 stalled the training (for a short time), but training started back up and is apparently going strong.

Proffer: Can TWC provide information about the Building Construction Trades Project?

The TWC: TWC’s Building Construction Trades Competitive Grant Program provides training for employment in high-demand building and Construction Trade Occupations, which is one of the strongest sectors in the Texas economy.  The program provides funding to non-profit organizations, general academic teaching institutions, institutions of higher education (IHEs), private or independent institutions of higher education, and other eligible agencies of higher education to provide training for one or more high demand occupations in the Building Construction Trades Sector, including Carpenters, Plumbers, Pipefitters, Welders, Masons and Electricians.  TWC is planning to release a fourth round of funding in 2020 that focuses on training for young Workers ages 16-to-24 that are not currently engaged in school or the workforce called “opportunity youth.”

Proffer: Will all classes be taught on-line?

The TWC: When available, classroom learning will be taught on-line.  When on-line options are not available and lessons are provided in a classroom setting, companies and organizations are required to follow safety guidelines set by OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and the CDC.  With the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), communications to their Registered Apprenticeship Programs are all communicating on how to continue at providing quality and safe training for all occupations/industries.  Workforce solutions offices are not closed and have remained open. Depending on the number of COVID cases in areas of Texas and regulations set by local authorities, some workforce solutions offices are not available for face-to-face interactions, but people can call or email them.  We would recommend that people in rural areas without an internet connection call their local workforce solutions office for details on how they could participate in an apprenticeship program.”

Proffer: Can you help me find out how people will be learning this and other topics in light of COVID-19?

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