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Workforce Solutions offering childcare to counter labor shortage

Posted at 9:49 AM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 11:24:25-04

Experts say the Central Texas labor market is going to take time to bounce back, but resources are available to help encourage people to get back to work.

Local restaurants like George's Bar & Grill in Hewitt are having a hard time finding help.

Before the pandemic hit, it was the opposite, according to manager Kyle Citrano.

"If you were a young person looking for a job, there wasn't a better place to be than waiting tables or working in restaurants," Citrano told 25 News.

A year and a half into the coronavirus pandemic and George's now has 50 open positions between its two locations.

"The average person that works for us, makes $16 to $20 an hour with their tips," Citrano said. "Which is really competitive compared to someone who's paying $15 dollars an hour, we feel."

After several months of making ends meet while short staffed, many are wondering when it will end.

"I think it's going to be a year and a half or a couple of years," Charley Ayers told 25 News.

Ayers is Director of Industry and Education Partnerships for Workforce Solutions of Central Texas.

In just 30 days, Ayers says they have seen 8,000 new job postings across various industries.

So, what's stopping people from applying?

"One of the big obstacles we find for that industry is childcare," Ayers said. "As a matter of fact, it's one of biggest obstacles for folks getting gainful employment."

Workforce Solutions is working on a remedy for that particular roadblock.

A grant from the Texas Workforce Commission provides $500,000,000 for childcare, to help low-wage workers in the service industry.

"Maybe with the start of school we'll see that employment kind of closing in," Ayers said. "that's what we're hoping for but it's always pointing to more than one thing as opposed to a silver bullet to solve that problem."

You can contact the Workforce Solutions Career Center near you to find out if you qualify for childcare assistance.

The staff can also help you gain job skills.

They have offices in Lampasas, Killeen, Temple, and Rockdale.

For more information, visit https://workforcesolutionsctx.com/childcare-main/