Fueling Prosperity: Workforce Development in Pflugerville, Texas

Fueling Prosperity: Workforce Development in Pflugerville, Texas Main Photo

15 Nov 2023


In the vibrant heart of Texas, a quiet revolution is underway—shaping the future of Pflugerville, Texas. Pflugerville isn't just a city; it's a community that believes in the power of its people. It's a place where workforce development is not merely a concept but a commitment to unlocking the full potential of its residents.

The Pflugerville Economic Development Corporation (PCDC) understands the importance of aligning workforce development with industry needs. With a focus on high-demand sectors such as healthcare, Pflugerville is building a relevant and adaptable workforce in a rapidly evolving economy.

The impact of these initiatives is evident in the increased employability of individuals who receive training through programs like the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training program. Beyond personal success, these programs contribute to the economic stability of the entire community.

Workforce development programs lead to higher-paying jobs, reducing the need for social assistance programs. This benefits individuals and results in significant cost savings for the government and greater economic self-sufficiency for the community. As individuals trained through these programs find employment, they contribute to local economic growth by spending their wages within the community. This virtuous cycle supports local businesses and strengthens the financial foundation of Pflugerville. The commitment to a skilled workforce makes the region more attractive to businesses looking to expand or relocate. This creates new job opportunities and attracts investments that boost the local economy.

Grants that encourage a culture of lifelong learning

In today's rapidly changing job market, the importance of ongoing education cannot be overstated. Grants like those from the Texas Workforce Commission and PCDC encourage a culture of lifelong learning, ensuring that Pflugerville's workforce remains agile and competitive.

In May, the PCDC took a significant step by approving a Community Engagement Grant, allocating $35,000 to acquire a decommissioned ambulanceofficially named as the Emergency Medical Technician Mobile Training Lab,  a crucial asset for the EMT  training program. The grant provided the vehicle, but stopped short of providing the needed equipment to outfit it for training purposes.  Demonstrating a continued commitment to workforce development, the PCDC allocated  a second grant of $42,000 last August provided the means to outfitt the vehicle with computers and other needed instrumentation and equipment to put the entire program on wheels.These grants, all within the past year, exemplify the PCDC's dedication to supporting the community. Moreover, the PCDC extends its impact by collaborating with Workforce Solutions Capital Area and the Texas Workforce Commission, jointly providing a matching grant of $150,000 from the High Demand Job Training Grant program to help fund the EMT program. This statewide grant has been successfully secured by the PCDC to fund several workforce education programs included the EMT program since 2019, reinforcing the partnerships between local and statewide efforts to build a skilled Texas workforce.

Traci Hendrix, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE), Pflugerville ISD, highlights the impact of these collaborations:
"In partnership with PCDC, Pflugerville ISD CTE has expanded the Emergency Services and Applied Agricultural Engineering programs of study. The Fire and EMT academies (Emergency Services) help high school students complete industry-required training and certification testing to be hire-eligible as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Additionally, we've outfitted the Fire and EMT academies with over $300,000 of safety/protective gear, training resources like birthing mannequins, a mobile training laboratory (ambulance), and appropriate emergency medical equipment and supplies. Over the past five years, at least five students have been hired full-time as firefighter/EMT or EMT professionals. Eight students earned the EMT certification in the 22-23 school year.”

Traci talks about the other program - “The Applied Agricultural Engineering program of study prepares students for careers in construction and manufacturing with a specific focus on welding. As a result of our partnership, PfISD was able to secure advanced welding simulators that reduce the cost of consumable materials, provide realistic training in a controlled, safe environment for beginning students, and help students prepare for welding certification through the American Welding Society. The program now includes an industry partnership with an internship beginning in the fall of 2024, and at least three students are currently employed part-time in the industry."

"Workforce development grants, like the Texas Workforce Commission's High Demand Job Training (HDJT) grant and PCDC's Community Engagement Grants, have played a vital role in equipping Pflugerville programs,” states Hendrix. “With the equipment, materials, and supplies necessary to conduct high-quality, industry-standard training in fields like healthcare, emergency services, and manufacturing."

These grants, she emphasizes, "provide students with relevant, engaging programs that culminate in industry credentials, college credit, and entry-level employment options. These program outcomes help our students graduate with confidence in their career future and able to contribute to their family and community economic stability and success."

The PFISD, in collaboration with the PCDC, WFSCA, and TWC, is proud to announce a ribbon-cutting ceremony this November at Hendrickson High School. This event will unveil the PFISD Mobile Training Lab, a groundbreaking tool that will offer hands-on training experiences for current and pfuture students in the EMT program.

In Pflugerville, the commitment to workforce development is not just about jobs; it's about creating a prosperous future for individuals and the entire community. Through strategic partnerships, grants, and a focus on lifelong learning, Pflugerville is paving the way for success in a dynamic job market.