UpSkill training to focus first on advanced manufacturing; WERN refocusing

By Tiffany Gallegos Whitley

November was a busy month planning the launch of UpSkill Waco’s training series. A lot of thought and intentionality has gone into this planning stage, and I’m thankful for the partners who are working alongside me to bring more accessible and equitable workforce training across the county.

After sifting through data and talking to industry partners, we’ve decided to start with Advanced Manufacturing for the first training series. The courses will tentatively start in March 2021. This will allow time to work out all of the logistics, secure a training site, and recruit trainees over the next few months.

I’m working to have an application housed on a simple Google site by early December. I also created an UpSkill Waco email list for anyone in the community interested in staying updated on upcoming training series and initiative information. Anyone that wants to be on the list can email me directly at tgallegos@prosperwaco.org.

In addition to UpSkill Waco progress, I greatly enjoyed facilitating November’s Waco Employer Resource Network (WERN) meeting. WERN has gone through a transition this year to move back to its original purpose of providing space for workforce partners to connect and collaborate on initiatives that train people to find and keep employment.

WERN has three new subcommittees, Business Connections, Training Opportunities, and Job Retention/Work Supports. Each subcommittee is led by a subcommittee chair, and I’m thankful to have such wonderful leaders in Lydia Tate from Christian Women’s Job Corps, Jillian Jones from Communities in Schools, and Levell Spencer from Caterpillar. They have done great work helping each subcommittee brainstorm and think through its role and purpose in WERN.

I’m looking forward to setting goals with each subcommittee in the next year and having UpSkill Waco as an initiative under WERN. As always, anyone interested in attending WERN can contact me directly. I hope everyone had a restful and safe Thanksgiving.

Tiffany Gallegos Whitley is director of workforce initiatives for Prosper Waco.