Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beginning the school year at Austin HS

Today, Tami and I had our first SOY table of the new school year, and it was good to be back at Austin HS.  We heard from several students that Marine recruiters had been tabling in the same spot last week.  "I like this better, though," said one student, and the comparison was a good conversation starter for a number of kids who thought it was interesting that we would come to the school with an alternative point of view about the military. 
We had new MLK "Peace Takes Courage" stickers to give away and peace sign stamps to add to the stenciling supplies, and there was good business at both the Peace Wheel and stencil-your-own-folder ends of the table.  Thanks to all the Maroons for a great visit!

same stencils, but every folder is a unique artwork

new stickers

hall poster
hall poster

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jobs and Job Training: Sustainability for you and the planet

Check out this updated listing of resources for jobs and job training in the Austin area and beyond, especially in green tech:

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. American Youthworks also oversees three local Americorps programs: Casa Verde Builders, which teaches green-building construction skills; Environmental Corps, which trains students to restore and preserve parks and public lands; and Computer Corps, which trains students in refurbishing computers and doing tech support. Americorps programs provide a living allowance, health care, and (on successful completion) money to use for college or trade school.

Green Energy Corps is a green-building crew that specializes in weatherization projects for low-income clients. The crew focuses on energy efficiency, water conservation and handicap accessibility. The program is administered by American youthworks and partners with the Casa Verde Builders, Habitat for Humanity and other local groups. www.americanyouthworks.org

Americorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps)
These Americorps programs involve working on parks and trails or doing restoration after natural disasters. Americorps members work as a team, earn money and receive health care and an educational award to use toward college. For more local and national Americorps programs: www.americorps.gov

Student Conservation Association (SCA)
Founded in 1957, this program offers work for young adults in the national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states in the US. Check out the possibilities at www.thesca.org

Texas Green Jobs Guidebook
This guidebook published by the Environmental Defense Fund contains listings for green jobs and job training across Texas. Check it out at   http://www.edf.org/climate/texas-green-jobs-guidebook 
Free copies for guidance counselors.

Green Dream Jobs
This website at www.sustainablebusiness.com/jobs keeps a running, up-to-date listing of all kinds of jobs that have an environmental focus, including organic farming and green building.

Austin Community College www.austincc.edu 512-223-7000
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. ACC offers training in green technology, including solar panel installation and design. With campuses across Austin and surrounding communities, 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 www.austinfree.net  for class times and locations, or phone 236-8225.

Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Texas State Department of (DARS)
4800 N. Lamar  800-628-5115
Assists persons with physical or psychological barriers to employment by providing services or equipment needed to get a job, including job training or college, as part of an agreed-upon plan. Call for referral to the nearest counseling office.

Capital IDEA
835 N. Pleasant Valley Road, 3rd floor 78702
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.

Skillpoint Alliance
201 E. 2nd St., Austin, 323-6773
Skillpoint Alliance runs programs in green tech, robotics and digital media.

Goodwill Industries Youth Services
1015 Norwood Park Blvd., Austin, TX 78753, 637-7100
Leah Winsberg, 748-5574
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.

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 4,700 students live in dorms or apartments. Phone 800-792-8784 or ask your school counselor. www.waco.tstc.edu

The University of Texas at Austin
Professional Development Center
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., the Jake Pickle Research Center on Burnet Road and the downtown campus of UT San Antonio.

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 www.twc.state.tx.us, where TWC also offers links to training resources, actual job vacancies, forecasts of ‘hot’ occupations, and typical pay rates for various occupations.

Internships and Apprenticeships 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. See www.indeed.com for some apprenticeships in Austin.

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. 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.

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!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Job training at Skillpoint Alliance

Check out this article in today's Austin American-Statesman about local job-training programs available through Skillpoint Alliance.  According to Margo Dover, Skillpoint Alliance director:
"Texas is home to one of the largest veteran populations in the country and it will only grow as more troops leave Afghanistan. With few exceptions, they have the work ethic and drive to be excellent employees, but they often have a gap in the skills to attain jobs.

Transitioning veterans, as well as their dependents that also desperately need training and jobs, are a real strength of our region and we need to capitalize on it. It is important now more than ever that we start training them for jobs that exist right when they step off the base.

It is also important that those in the workforce, preparing to enter the workforce, and young people, the future workforce, are all aware of what jobs truly exist in the Austin-Central Texas market.

According to the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, one in three jobs in Austin are in computer programming and database management. Another 9 percent are in health care.

Jobs consistently exist in skilled labor, like electrical, plumbing, HVAC and welding. Austin is home to light machinist jobs. These are all perfect examples of skilled trades that do not require higher education degrees at their entry-level positions. Many allow for long-term growth without ever obtaining higher-education degrees ... People can be, or become, self-sufficient on these jobs. Most importantly, though, these are the jobs that exist in Austin. These businesses are in critical need of skilled, trained workers."