Secret from 035: The Burleson Works Program

This month, Alex Philips, Economic Development Manager for the City of Burleson, shared information about their Burleson Works program:

Burleson Works was kind of born from when we started a manufacturing and industrial alliance where we meet every three months with all of our industries from a small two person shop, small business here in the community up to our bigger manufacturers that have 150-200 employees. We all got together along with some technical schools that are a part of those meetings, Texas Workforce Commission, and also our Chamber of Commerce and local ISDs. In putting together a program because there wasn’t one existing really that companies could find the future workforce. There’s a skills gap in our community. There’s a skills gap in Texas. There’s a skills gap across the U.S. There’s no stopping it right now until we have more programs like Burleson Works or other programs that the state does at a state level. But we all got together and the goal was to put a program in place that benefits companies with future workforce. That was the main goal, regardless of where they went to school to get the training or how we contributed to get those people, it didn’t matter. The goal of the program is to get future workforce into companies that are in our community.

So we developed this program called Burleson Works where every year towards the end of the year we ask the companies what specific jobs they are having either a hard time hiring or finding or a hard time getting people to have those skills. So what we do is we pick up those job descriptions for scholarships that run for a couple months at the first of the year through the end of February. So we’re right in the middle of getting towards the finish line of the scholarship application to being opened. And then from there, we take all the applicants through an orientation type class of what to expect in the next steps of the program, and then we go to … We give those applications to the particular company that an individual applied for. The company themselves interviews those applicants, and the company ultimately chooses who gets the scholarship. The company decides who gets it, where the training takes place, for how long, and that sort of thing. And it gets them the opportunity for that individual to complete the training and to come to work for the company.

So we’re trying to do all the vetting process up front to reduce the risk for the company, but also give the motivation to the scholarship winner to complete the training and come to work close here in our community.

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