One of the critical economic issues facing Texas today is the need to develop sustainable, scalable, replicable models of “regional models”, capable of addressing the unmet demand for middle level STEM skill positions in high demand industry sectors. Although we are at record unemployment, these are sectors critical to our economy that cannot find enough skilled workers. As one example, in the logistic sector there are currently 10,000+ non duplicated job listings in Tarrant County and 14,000 in Dallas County.
“A Second Chance/Second Career” can reduce recidivism, reduce the cost of incarceration, and support the job needs of thousands of Texas businesses, who often find it challenging to find an adequate number of employees with the middle level STEM skills needed. In our meetings with major employers and employment agencies, virtually all have agreed to support the project, citing an increased need for employees, and a willingness to hire veterans and those formerly incarcerated. The challenge we face is real. From our perspective, this initiative represents a call to action for all members of the private sector. It will improve Texas communities by eliminating barriers for all 3 populations, creating a pathway for a "A Second Chance/Second Career.
President & CEO, Redemption Bridge
Wes Jurey serves as President & CEO of Redemption Bridge, a non-profit intermediary focused on establishing new models for workforce development. He is also the Founder, President and CEO of the Agriculture Technology Innovation Partnership (ATIP) Foundation, affiliated with the United States Department of Agriculture; Senior Advisor to the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council.
Mr. Jurey established the Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development in 2004, selected as one of 12 sites nationally for the Workforce Innovation Networks Initiative, a project of the Ford Foundation and U.S. Department of Labor. Built in partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), the City of Arlington, and the Tarrant County Workforce Investment Board, the facility fostered partnerships with virtually every major education and workforce development stakeholder in Tarrant County.
He was appointed to the 9-member U.S. Department of Labor panel in 2002, charged with development of the departments five-year strategic research plan; Labor Secretary Elaine Chao appointed him to the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships in 2008, and he was reappointed by Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis in May 2010. In 2009, he was selected as a Ford Foundation Fellow, and was appointed by the Business Roundtable as one of 25 commissioners for the Springboard Project, an independent commission that developed education & workforce policy recommendations for the Obama Administration. In 2010 he was appointed to the Council on Competitiveness’ Workforce Advisory Group.