Monday, October 31, 2011

Job Training Resources in Austin

This is the info on our Job Training flier.  The info should be current as of this date, but let us know if we need to update phone numbers, etc.

JOB TRAINING … Be who YOU are in the world!

American Youthworks
1901 E. Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 744-1900

This non-profit charter high school serves ages 16-21 with high school or GED programs, health care, counseling services, social services, job training, and job placement. Helping 1,000 students per year, they also oversee three local Americorps programs: Casa Verde Builders, which teaches construction skills; Environmental Corps, which trains workers to restore and preserve parks and public lands; and Computer Corps, which has students teaching computer skills to children. Americorps provides a living allowance, health care, and (on successful completion) money to use for college or trade school.

Americorps for Community Engagement and Education (ACEE)
Charles A. Dana Center, 2901 N IH-35, Suite 2.200, 471-6764

Learn teaching skills by doing bilingual literacy tutoring in local elementary schools through this Americorps program. As with all Americorps programs, you learn valuable skills while earning a living stipend and an educational award to use toward college or college loan repayment. For more local and national Americorps programs:

Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas State Department of (DARS)

Assists persons with physical or psychological barriers to employment, by providing services or equipment needed for them to get a job, including job training or college, as part of an agreed-upon plan. Call for referral to the nearest counselor office.

Austin Community College

ACC has more than 80 different job-skills programs that can be completed in a year or less, and also offers 2-year associate degrees and transfers to 4-year colleges. With campuses across Austin, including the new South Austin campus directly across from Crockett High School, ACC provides affordable, high-quality classes and financial aid toward tuition.

Austin Freenet provides free public computer labs and free or low-cost computer classes at neighborhood libraries, community centers, and public agencies. All Wired for Youth classes are free, including website design. See for class times and locations, or phone 236-8225.

Capital IDEA
504 Lavaca Street, Suite 1008, Austin, TX 78701, 457-8610

Trains legally-resident adults, whose incomes qualify them, with training for careers in health care, high tech, or accounting. For full-time students who reside in Central Texas, it provides tuition, fees, books, and child care. Also provides free English, GED, and college prep classes. Has ties with local employers.

Goodwill Industries of Central Texas1015 Norwood Park Blvd., Austin, TX 78753, 637-7100
748-5574, Leah Winsberg, Eligibility Specialist, WIA Youth Services Program

This program serves persons 14-21 who are in or out of school, who have barriers to employment such as a physical or mental handicap, homelessness, runaway status, pregnancy or parenting, academic skills below grade level, having been through the juvenile justice system, and being or having been a foster child. Young people are receiving such services as GED, job readiness training, job placement, job coaching, tuition costs, child care, and emergency housing, rent, or utilities. Goodwill also runs the City-County Summer Employment Program for youth.

Internships are unpaid or low-paid jobs in which the employer teaches the worker job skills. Ask a school counselor, teacher, Workforce Center employee, or employers who appear at job fairs. Non-profit agencies may be willing to offer worthwhile internships, too, if asked.

Job Corps (inquire at Texas Workforce Center, 6505 Airport Blvd, Austin) For ages 16-24, free self-paced training in 27 different occupations, including medical assistant, CNA, auto body work or mechanics, culinary arts, welding, computer repair, and corrections. Training takes place at a residential center in San Marcos and lasts 8-12 months. On successful completion, graduates receive $1,200 to use toward college. The Job Corps is a certified Texas high school offering a diploma or GED; its college program busses students to ACC (San Marcos) or St. Phillips in San Antonio. Must be a legal U.S. resident, drug-free, not on probation, and with no outstanding fines, warrants, or court dates.

Job Fairs are of two kinds: one-employer and multi-employer. Employers may be hiring right away or may take part to gain community visibility and a list of interested people. Many offer on-the-job training, sometimes with college credit or professional certificates. Multi-employer job fairs include the quarterly fair held at the Workforce Center, 6505 Airport Boulevard, and the annual Goodwill-American Statesman Job Fair in May. Dress for an interview and take a current resume; you may be interviewed on the spot. Fairs are announced in classified ads, at employers’ premises, on billboards, on Public Access TV, on websites, and at Workforce Centers.

Texas State Technical Colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in technical or applied subjects. The nearest TSTC to Austin is at 3801 Campus Drive, Waco, TX 76705 and offers programs in 31 different fields of study. Most of the 4,500 students live in dorms or apartments. Phone 800-792-8784 or ask your school counselor.

The University of Texas at Austin
Professional Development Center, 471-4622

Professional development classes for certificates (no college credit) in public relations, marketing, leadership, human resources, project management, and process management. Courses given at the Thompson Center at U.T. or at the Jake Pickle Research Center on Burnet Road.

The Urban League
8011 Cameron Rd., Bldg. A-100, 478-7176

Free GED, job-seeking skills, and specific training: typing, keyboarding, computer use.

Central Texas Workforce Centers teach job-seeking skills, offer keyboarding practice, and administer keyboarding and spelling tests required by some employers. Under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), some job-seekers are eligible for free career testing, transportation costs, skills training, work uniforms, and clothes for job interviews. The 6505 Airport Blvd. Workforce Center coordinates several services for younger job-seekers, such as work internship programs, paid summer jobs, and support services such as child care. For other locations see, where TWC also offers links to training resources, actual job vacancies, forecasts of ‘hot’ occupations, and typical pay rates for various occupations.

This is only a sampling of training resources. You have many options; to explore them, first think about your interests, personal strengths, and skills. Find out which agencies or programs might work for you, and make an appointment to talk with them. Even if one appointment doesn’t work out, you can probably get referred to another agency or program that can help you. Talk with others—your friends, relatives, school counselors, librarians, and adults who do jobs you think you might enjoy. Ask about internships, apprenticeships, and community service projects as well as regular jobs. Sometimes, the best training is on-the-job with a good employer. The number-one best way to get a well-paid, enjoyable job is through personal contacts!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Israeli Arab and Jewish student dialogue, November 1, 5:30 pm

Looks like a good event, sponsored by Interfaith Action of Central Texas:

On Tuesday evening, November 1, Two students, Haneen Kinani (Arab/Muslim, 12th grade) and Yael Keinan (Jewish, 11th grade), both from Hand in Hand's Jerusalem school will participate in a public forum and dialogue at Congregation Beth Israel's Smith Auditorium, 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd. from 5:30 to 7 PM. The event, will include a presentation and dialogue centering on Hand in Hand, education and interfaith/ethnic relations in Israel and the United States. Light refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 1997, Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education, is a unique network of integrated, bilingual schools for Arab and Jewish children in Israel. Hand in Hand students are taught by Jews and Arabs in both Hebrew and Arabic. Learning each other's language, culture and religion is critical to breaking down stereotypes and fostering mutual respect. Students develop pride in their own heritage while acquiring the skills and experiences needed to live peacefully in a diverse, often conflicted, society. These are skills that are needed in every culture, including our own.

Hand in Hand is a living model of collaboration to create a more peaceful, pluralistic and democratic society. As one mom from the Wadi Ara community put it, "The school that we have started together as Arabs and Jews, parents, educators, and community members, is making peace, building it every day, every hour."

Haneen and Yael, who will be accompanied by Lee Gordon, Hand in Hand co-founder, are dynamic speakers and tremendous representatives for Jewish-Arab coexistence and peace.

For more information, contact Robert Ozer at 512-913-3953 or at

This event is free and open to the public

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SOY table at Crockett HS

Tami and I had a good visit today at Crockett HS in South Austin, where we enjoyed talking with many students who stopped by the table to spin the peace wheel, take literature and try out the stenciling.  Thanks, Cougars! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

#OccupyWallStreet: the process is the goal

The coverage of the #OccupyWallStreet movement provided by the Waging Nonviolence blog has been great.  Also, here is an article by Tim King on the Sojourners blog with his take on it:

Like many of my contemporaries, I found the non-violent protests in Egypt that led to regime change earlier this year terribly inspiring. But, also like many in my generation, I never thought such a movement could happen here.

I had seen people my age start successful businesses, become pop-stars and even play a key role in partisan political campaigns, but I had never seen them develop and sustain a social movement.

Sure there have been more focused shifts around issues like educational equity, LGBT rights or global poverty that my generation has had a hand in shaping, but nothing that quite had the look or the feel of what I imagined the anti-War or Civil Rights movements of the 1960s to have been. I assumed we — my contemporaries ( I’m 27) — simply didn’t possess the interest or the will-power to accomplish something that big.

I was wrong.

It isn’t clear yet what immediate or enduring effects the Occupy movement will have on our current economic or political situation. But, there are three things that I believe have the potential to significantly shape a whole generation — and perhaps the future of our nation.

First, a generation — my generation — is learning how to act. More importantly, we are learning how to act collectively. And what makes this of lasting significance is that we are seeing some results.

For much of its life, my generation has the ability to broadcast our thoughts and ideas around the globe, 24/7, but we hadn’t felt heard … until now. An epic shift has occurred in the last few weeks, a transition from wide-scale disconnection and disenchantment because of our perceived (at least) voicelessness with the powers that be, to seeing responses to our message calling for justice and transformation from around the country and the world.

Right now, across the nation high school students, college kids and legion twenty-somethings are watching their peers create something positive and powerful that has been amplified worldwide. Whether we start sleeping outside or not, a lot more dreams seem possible. The vision my friends and I have for our futures — and, more importantly, for the futures of the least of those among us — is catching on at home and abroad. It’s infectious, resonating deep in the hearts and minds of our contemporaries around the globe. They, too, want to act collectively and watch as their efforts bring about lasting, positive change.

Second, the members of my generation are invigorating democracy. The democratic processes in our country seemed like little more than so many lackluster reality TV shows. It had a veneer of authenticity but we couldn’t shake the feeling that somebody was standing just out of the camera shot, scripting the “real” dialogue and pulling all the strings.

Anyone who thinks that the Occupy demonstrations are, at their roots, about “socialism” or “communism” isn’t listening. It’s all about the democratic process. While the movement has not coalesced around a political party or a particular policy platform, it has radically embraced the idea that one person and one vote are supposed to count.

Going forward, that’s going to make things challenging. Democracy — especially direct democracy — isn’t easy. I have great hope that the Occupy movement’s current systems of decision-making will be rooted to the discipline of democracy as they continue to evolve.

Third, #OccupyWallStreet protesters believe that part of their responsibility is to model within their individual and diverse “Occupy” locations, a sort of alternative community. Such an idea has long existed in Christian and other religious traditions. Some faith communities live in the midst of society while trying to model a different way to live and relate, while others have separated themselves from society in order to, they believe, better live out their beliefs.

In either paradigm of engagement, the purpose of each faith community is similar: To lift up a mirror to society in general and model alternative ways of living that others may choose to follow or not.

The #OccupyWallStreet movement probably won’t look like it does right now next year or the year after that. The demands they are making right now might not be the same demands they will make in five or ten years. In order for this movement to have the same sort of impact that the Civil Rights Movement did, it will need to grow, develop and be sustained over decades, not months.

If the end result of “The Occupation” is tens of thousands of young people who believe it is our responsibility to:

1. Act with others for social change;

2. Invigorate democratic processes;

3. Model life-giving alternatives to the systems they are protesting;

then no matter what else it accomplishes, it will have been successful.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Art, Not War at McCallum High School

Tami and I had a good day tabling at McCallum High School, an arts magnet school.  We had stenciling supplies, and students were really creative in their use of the materials!  We added the "#OccupyWallStreet" action to our Peace Wheel of Fortune, and a number of students had heard about Occupy Austin.  One student said she'd spent the weekend there at City Hall Plaza and that her dad had spoken at the rally.

Thanks to McCallum students and staff for stopping by the table and checking out our wares!  Here is the current Peace Wheel lineup, along with some photos from today, including some of the awesome student stencil art and a copy of a new flier on Active Nonviolence.

  Waging Peace: winning freedom and justice through creative nonviolence

Egypt’s popular uprising began with a mass rally on January 25, 2011 as hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered in public squares calling for governmental, economic and social change. The overwhelmingly nonviolent crowds faced violent suppression by their president, but they succeeded in ousting him from power and inspired other Middle East freedom movements happening right now.

#OccupyWallStreet began on September 17, 2011 in New York City as a nonviolent public assembly led by young people who support human needs over corporate greed. Using First Amendment rights and democratic organizing, this movement has spread to many other US cities, including Austin!

Gidon is an award-winning hip hop and spoken word artist in Austin who was president of his class at Reagan High School. He has been active with The Cipher and the Texas Youth Word Collective and the band, Public Offender, whose CD, Drop Jewels, is a call to men to stop violence against women. He teaches performance poetry at the Texas Empowerment Academy.

Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for leading the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, a tree-planting effort undertaken mostly by women’s groups. Maathai earned a doctorate degree and stressed the connections between ecological conservation and human rights.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) is perhaps the best known of all US Civil Rights leaders. Following methods used by Gandhi and the freedom movement in India, King’s oratory, writings and personal example directed the movement in using nonviolent strategies such as mass marches, boycotts, sit-ins and direct negotiations in achieving equal rights.

Greensboro sit-in On Feb. 1, 1960, four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, sat down at a Woolworth’s lunch counter where they were refused service, but they did not leave, even when harassed. The next day, more students continued the protest, and the movement grew throughout the south (including Austin) with widespread sit-ins at segregated restaurants, department stores, movie theatres, swimming pools and churches.

Cesar Chavez (1927 – 1993) led worker strikes, boycotts and marches for higher wages and better working conditions for agricultural workers in the US, including South Texas. He and Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers, led the successful California grape boycott and helped organize other labor organizations in Texas and the Midwest. A statue of Cesar Chavez stands on the UT campus.

Julia Butterfly Hill is a poet, speaker and environmental activist who lived for two years on a platform 18 stories high in a 1,000 year-old redwood tree in California as a protest against clear-cutting. Her book about that experience, The Legacy of Luna, was published in 2000.

Flobots is a rock/hip-hop band based in Denver. Lyrics of their release, Fight With Tools, promote nonviolent methods as the tools for social change.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was one of the most influential nonviolent activists in history. He helped lead India to independence from British Colonial Rule and his nonviolent methods inspired MLK and others in the US Civil Rights Movement.

Helen Keller (1880 –1968) was the first deafblind person to graduate from college. She learned to speak and became a world traveler and author who was outspoken in her advocacy for peace, women’s voting rights and labor rights.