By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

After the annual work force board retreat of Workforce Solutions of Central Texas in Salado on April 24, all that remains is an education panel with leaders from Central Texas College, Temple College and Tarleton State College-Central Texas to complete groundwork for a plan of work for fiscal 2010 that includes $2.2 million in stimulus funds.

WSCT executive director Susan Kama said after the board spent the day hearing from economic experts and government officials, the board decided it needs:

More frequent briefings from Fort Hood on the needs of military families and how they can help the post, and they hope for more frequent contact from the commanding general.

A continued and intensified focus on supplying health professionals to hospitals and other employers.

Better contact with such groups as the Texas Association of Business with information and interests in the condition and needs of businesses, including speakers at board meetings.

More personal feedback from recipients of the services of the work force centers in WSCT’s seven-county area — “more stories,” Kamas said.

The WSCT starts the year $2.2 million richer, with funds to be used almost exclusively for training and for support services for job seekers, including child care, and for direct wages in summer youth employment programs.

About 70 percent will go for adult needs and the rest for the youth program except for $300,000 for more staff to assist dislocated workers.

“One of our hallmark policies is that no one should have to wait for services,” Kamas said. “And that’s been threatened lately by the numbers of people who have lost their jobs.”

She said that policies for fiscal 2010, which starts July 1, should be ready for action at the June board meeting.

After a morning address by Waco economist Ray Perryman on the causes of the recession and a presentation by Rich Froeschle, deputy director of labor market and career information for the Texas Workforce Commission, on “market-driven talent development,” the board heard from other Texas Workforce Commission and U.S. Labor Department officials about how to use the stimulus money.

Nick Laplius, an official with the Department of Labor in Dallas, advised spending the money quickly, wisely and carefully, with transparency so that the process can be easily understood.

Laplius said the whole idea is to put people in jobs and that the number of jobs created is the measure of success. The department expects to see more people in training programs after a process to determine where demand is going to be.

The idea of the stimulus is to help those hardest hit and to work with partners in education, business, economic development corporations and Chambers of Commerce to find where skilled employees are needed.

The WSCT is one of 28 regional affiliates of the TWC, carrying out policies with contracts.

Contact Don Bolding at or (254) 501-7557.

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