Best Practices

Mayor Bruce Todd

Mayor's Task Force for Apprenticeships and Career Pathways for Austin Youth

The three-year-old Mayor's Task Force for Apprenticeships and Career Pathways for Austin Youth, in partnership with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Austin Independent School District and area businesses, stresses the importance of creating apprenticeship and school-to-work transition opportunities for Austin youth.

Using the highly regarded German apprenticeship system as a model, Austin believes it is important for youth who are not going on to college to receive training and skills that will make them employable. Several Austin high school graduates are currently taking part in a two-year apprenticeship in Koblenz, Germany, one of Austin's Sister Cities. The young adults are learning trades that will give them marketable skills when they return to this country. The Chamber of Commerce actively supports local businesses with job-training programs similar to Germany's, and sends speakers to area high schools to educate students about employers' needs. The Chamber also sponsors a job shadowing program that allows at-risk, middle school students to visit area businesses to increase understanding of workplace requirements.

In 1994 Austin Mayor Bruce Todd, along with the Chamber and the LBJ School of Public Affairs of the University of Texas, helped start the Capital Area Training Foundation. Staff liaisons with the non-profit organization work with businesses to encourage employers to take part in the school-to-work system. Career specialists also are stationed at area schools to help develop new career pathways for students. The specialists work in the entire region, consistent with the employers' focus on our economy as a regional labor market.

Finally, the Gateway Construction Program was started in 1994 under the auspices of the Capital Area Training Foundation to prepare unemployed and under-employed people in low-income areas for jobs in the construction industry. This collaborative effort with the foundation, the city, SER Jobs for Progress and the Austin Community College has been a major success. All of the graduates in the classes receive job offers from our booming construction industry. This program has played an important role in our school-to-work initiative.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (512) 499-2250

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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