Industry's fast rate of technology implementation has created a skills gap that requires mitigation via partnerships between academia, industry, and the community.
The Office of Professional Education & Workforce Development (PEWD), in collaboration with the Workforce Development Advisory Committee (WDAC), has developed a comprehensive strategy to mitigate the skills gap and prepare our regional workforce to be more adaptive to the changing needs. We think that the Workforce Development Innovation (WDI) challenge holds the key. Companies that meet the criteria will receive the WDI award recognized by the community and industry leaders.
Attend WDI Challenge launch on Friday, Sept 24th to support this Initiative:
The event will serve as a good opportunity for economic development organizations in the Valley to develop regional goals in collaboration with the higher education institutions, organizers said.
Those interested in attending the September 24 event are encouraged to RSVP due to limited seating.
For more information, contact the UTRGV Office of Professional Education & Workforce Development at (956) 665-6513 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why is the UTRGV Office of PEWD WDAC doing this?
There are two reasons:
- Managing a skilled workforce has become more important than ever for companies to remain competitive in the marketplace, yet, due to the changes in how we work, these skillset needs have expanded, both on the technical skills side as well as on the soft skills side.
- We understand that The Rio Grande Valley is one of the fastest-growing regions in our country, and, with an upskilled local workforce, offers huge potential to local companies and external investors alike. We want to do our part to actualize that potential.
What is the UTRGV Office of PEWD WDAC hoping to accomplish?
There are two goals:
- To create partnerships with Industry, EDOs, and Community to collaborate in an effort to mitigate this gap.
- We understand that many industry partners express concerns that the students coming out of the current higher education setting are not quite prepared for today’s workforce as they lack the industry-specific knowledge and/or the professional soft skills to be able to perform their job functions effectively. We want to learn what needs to change in the curriculum in order to meet the industry’s needs.
What are the Next Steps for EDOs and Community Partners?
Step 1: Identify & team up with a company in your community to participate in the WDI Challenge.
Step 2: Submit the Sign-up Form for the WDI Challenge.
Step 3: Help the company identify the employees to be upskilled, and the skills to be gained.
Step 4: Help the company commit to wage increases at or above the wage threshold outlined in the Milestone.
Step 5: Support the Industry partner(s) with information from Texas Workforce Commission and TEA (and others) in an effort to apply for relevant grants to support your program.
Step 6: Engage skills training providers.
- Technical Schools
- Private Training Providers
- In-house training
Step 7: Complete the Status Report (Status Report Form), a month after the program begins.
Step 8: At the end of the program, complete the Final Report (Final Report Form).
What is the timeline?
- August 2021: - EDO Engagement regarding WDI Award Initiative (completed on August 20th).
- September 24, 2021: - Launch day, WDI Award Initiative Goes Public (Web, Media, Kick-Off)
- October 2021: - WDI Award Sign-Up Period
- November 2021: - WDI Award Challenge Kick-Off on November 15, 2021
- November 21, 2021 - March 22, 2022: - WDI Award Challenge Period, ongoing recognition of companies that reach the Milestone
- April 2022: - WDI Award Challenge Ends April 15, 2021
- May 2022: - After verification of data, WDI Awards Ceremony, recognizing companies with reach the milestone and crowning of the Grand Champion