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Update from Workforce Solutions of West Texas

Workforce Update

May 25, 2020


· JFF (Jobs for the Future) is hosting a virtual conference for anyone interested in working together to build an equitable economic recovery. Horizons, Designing a Future that Works, a is a FREE virtual experience for innovators in education and workforce transformation from June 8 to 11. Registration is open now.

· Job postings are now available in WorkInTexas for positions related to contact tracing. Thee are three different positions: contact tracer, contract tracer investigator and contact epidemiology lead. As you are aware, Governor Abbott is hoping to have 4,000 to 5,000 contact tracers in Texas, so jobs will be available throughout the state. Training for the positions takes about two to three hours and can be found online at: The company will also provide additional training after hire.

· Effective May 18, 2020, child care centers were allowed to re-open and new minimum standard health protocols were established that include social distancing, additional cleaning and disinfection, modification of drop-off and pick-up procedures, additional required training and implementation of screening procedures. For additional information on requirements or to see information related to re-opening checklists for other businesses and organizations, visit the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas.


· The Texas Workforce Commission released unemployment rate information today revealing that the April 2020 rate is now 12.8% due to COVID-19. The unemployment rate for the West Central Texas region is 8.7%, which is the second lowest in the state. The Amarillo area has the lowest unemployment rate at 7.9%. Two other regions in the state with unemployment rates below 10% are the Bryan-College Station area at 9.0% and the Lubbock area at 9.9%. The highest unemployment rates in the state are in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area at 18.2%, the McAllen area at 18.6% and the Brownsville-Harlingen area at 17.1%. The chart on the following page identifies the unemployment rate for each of the 19 counties in the West Central Texas region.

· To date, the Texas Workforce Commission had paid out approximately $7 billion in claims and processed 2.7 million claims There are still individuals who have been determined eligible to receive benefits, but have yet to receive payment. The Texas Workforce Commission is outreaching these individuals to assist them in receiving payment.

Child Care

· On May 20 at the direction of the Texas Workforce Commission, we closed applications for the Essential Worker Child Care program. This program provides 3 months of care at no cost to essential workers. We currently have 312 children being served through this program.

· Between last Wednesday’s report and Friday’s report, one additional center has opened resulting in 47 of the 172 licensed providers remaining closed with 25 of the 89 contracted providers remaining closed. It should be noted that some providers who provide only after-school care would be closed regardless of COVID-19.

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding any of these items, please feel free to contact us at You may also reach out directly to Mary Ross, Executive Director, at 325-795-4301 or via email at:

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