Workforce Development Services was created in 2013 to assist ex-offenders in Travis County seeking sustainable employment. Ex-offenders are first required to attend an orientation. Of those who willingly participate in the program are then assessed based on their aptitudes and skills are then referred to employers seeking those types of skilled employees. Those not ready for employment are referred to local service agencies in hopes of obtaining the necessary skills to participate in the Workforce Development Services program.
Participation is voluntary and open to any Travis County resident who has a criminal record. Program participants are required to attend a two-hour orientation called Road to Success. After attending Road to Success, individuals who are interested in enrolling in the WDS program schedule an appointment with the WDS program coordinator to be assessed. For six months, the program coordinator supports the client as he or she looks for, finds, and maintains employment. The coordinator also provides referrals to vocational training (e.g., OSHA, Food Handler's, TABC, etc.) for clients who are interested in obtaining a trade certification.
Orientation takes place on the first and last Tuesday of every month from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at Travis County Counseling and Education Services, 5501 Airport Boulevard, #102, Austin 78751. (Map) Attendees complete an individual employment assessment and hear an overview of the WDS program. They also receive information about local education and vocational training opportunities and tips for interviewing and resume-writing. No reservation is needed to attend Road to Success.
The WDS program coordinator works with participating employers to understand their hiring needs and match them to the skills and experiences of potential job applicants. WDS program clients are assessed for their qualifications and employment readiness before they are referred to potential employers. If a client is selected by an employer to interview for a position, he or she receives an official County referral card signed by the WDS program coordinator. The client presents this card at the interview so that the employer can verify that he or she was assessed and referred by the Travis County WDS program. If the client is offered and accepts a job, the WDS program coordinator follows up regularly with the employer to ensure that they are satisfied.
Employer participation is free; there are no fees associated with the WDS program. Out of respect for employers' privacy, the WDS program coordinator does not publicize which businesses are engaged with the program.
Participating employers are eligible to receive the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), a federal income tax benefit administered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for employers who hire individuals from specified target populations, including ex-offenders. WOTC reduces a business' federal tax liability, servicing as an incentive to select job candidates who may be disadvantaged in their efforts to find employment.
More information about the Work Opportunity Tax Credit...
The Texas Workforce Commission and the Workforce Development Board offer free fidelity bonding services to help job applicants with high barriers to employment obtain and maintain their jobs while protecting employers against employee acts of dishonesty, such as larceny, embezzlement, and theft. Either the job applicant or the prospective employer can request the bonding service.
More information about fidelity bonding...
For more information about the Workforce Development Services program or how to get involved, contact Workforce Development Services; Program Coordinator Sandra Trevino at (512) 854-7996 email: email@example.com
Travis County Justice Planning collaborates with a variety of County and community-based agencies to recruit and serve its WDS program clients. The Department is proud to partner with the following organizations:
Ascend Center for Learning
Austin Community College
Austin Electrical Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee
Capital Area Food Bank
Project Fresh Start
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Travis County Adult Probation
Travis County Human Resources Management Department
Travis State Jail
For more information contact: Workforce Development Services