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New Workforce Training Center Planned For Houston’s East End

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, an estimated 125,000 people in Texas have filed Harvey-related unemployment claims.

Born into foster care, Brittany Torres was rebelling against her parents by the time she got to elementary school. In high school she started skipping class and doing drugs before eventually dropping out and beginning a journey from one minimum wage job to another.

Always dreaming of a better life, Brittany was finally introduced to SER – a workforce training center in Houston’s East End – by a friend. Six years after leaving high school, SER helped Torres get her GED and become a certified welder. She considers that accomplishment turning a dream into reality.

“I just can’t wait to be able to say, ya know, somebody asks you, what do you do for a living? And I get to say, well I’m a welder,” Brittany told city leaders and others in attendance at a press conference announcing the fundraising launch on phase two of SER’s new $17 million workforce center.

SER Executive Director Nory Angel says they are working hard to aid rebuilding efforts in Greater Houston following Harvey.

“Right now we are training people for construction and welding. And we’re also partnering with local employers, who are coming to us and saying we need x-number of skilled laborers,” Angel says.

 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner believes SER’s mission is perfectly aligned to help Houston’s unemployed.

“One of the many results of the flood was the demand for more skilled workers in the construction trades as we build and recover towards an even brighter future in our city,” Turner says. “And before the storm, Houston had already partnered with SER ‘Jobs for Progress’ through a $5.3 million community development grant to train workers as council member Robert Gallegos indicated, to move into the skilled jobs that will make raising families and enjoying life in Houston much easier.”

Angel says she can’t put a number on exactly how many people they can help find jobs specifically related to Harvey, but SER currently assists about 4,000 people a year.

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