Brayden Martin, a culinary arts student at Lampasas High School, serves Oil States Industries representative Thomas Barnhart during a workforce development luncheon Friday at the Hostess House. In the background is culinary arts student Ray Cimino.
Brayden Martin, a culinary arts student at Lampasas High School, serves Oil States Industries representative Thomas Barnhart during a workforce development luncheon Friday at the Hostess House. In the background is culinary arts student Ray Cimino.

A luncheon Friday at the Hostess House gave businesses an opportunity to learn about workforce training opportunities available in Lampasas.

The event, coordinated by Economic Development Director Mandy Walsh, featured presentations about the Lampasas Independent School District’s Career and Technical Education programs, the Lampasas County Higher Education Center, Central Texas College and Workforce Solutions of Central Texas.

Randy Brady, CTE director for Lampasas ISD, said the school district’s career and technical classes provide opportunities both for college-bound students and for those who plan to begin careers immediately after graduating from high school.

Brady mentioned courses including engineering, computer programming, criminal justice, automotive technician, agriculture and welding.

LHS also offers a culinary arts program – and students in that program prepared the meal for Friday’s gathering.

Some of the high school’s CTE courses allow students to earn college credit while still in high school, and other programs enable students to earn industry certifications.

LCHEC Director Derrick Berrios emphasized that while the higher education center focused for many years on health-related job training, it is diversifying to offer career preparation for other industries. One new program, for example, is LCHEC’s information technology technician program.

Berrios added that LCHEC has developed training modules for Ajinomoto Foods North America, and he said the center would be happy to develop training programs for other businesses in the area. The director said it is important for LCHEC to offer the types of programs local businesses say they need to develop their workers.

Berrios, for example, said LCHEC will consider offering a course about “soft skills” – such as communication, punctuality, time management and leadership – people need to succeed in the workplace. Mrs. Walsh said the need for such skills was a “recurring theme” Friday among the business officials who commented about key needs in their companies.

“It is at a day and age when they’re just as important as the technical skills,” the economic development director said.

CTC representative Janice Allen, who has an office at Lampasas High School, discussed the college’s academic courses as well as its career education programs. Career and technical courses are self-paced, she said, so students who have work or family responsibilities may fit their studies into their schedules instead of being bound to a fixed number of hours per week.

Articulation agreements allow degree-seeking students to transfer credit to Texas A&M University-Central Texas or other four-year universities, she added.

Jacqueline Ortiz, a workforce development specialist with Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, mentioned the organization’s range of services, from resume preparation assistance to child care for those who qualify to programs that help veterans find civilian work.

She also encouraged businesses that are interested in internships to consider participating either in the workforce commission’s summer program – which is June 11 to July 26 this year – or the September to May program. Workforce Solutions pays for interns’ $8-per-hour salaries and pays their worker’s compensation.

Mrs. Ortiz said the more businesses that participate, the likelier it is that young interns will be able to find work in fields that interest them.

Employers represented at Friday’s event included Ajinomoto, Guyco Inc., Family Medicine Clinic, Regal Healthcare Residence, Lampasas Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Benny Boyd Chrysler Dodge Jeep, 2B Signs & More, Oil States Industries and Lampasas County.

Mrs. Walsh said she has talked one-on-one with many businesses but wanted to offer an opportunity to bring companies together to learn about the entities that provide workforce training in Lampasas. She said workforce trainers will continue to work to address the training needs business representatives enumerated at the recent event.