Young adults gain CareerEDGE with East Texas Workforce Solutions

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

BY LISA TANG Special to Herald-Press

Workforce Solutions of East Texas wants to help more young adults overcome barriers when entering the job market. The agency is encouraging young workers to apply for CareerEDGE, a federal program that helps 15 to 20 local young adults develop skills and overcome barriers to employment each year.

Young adults ages 16 to 24 can qualify to participate in CareerEDGE, which receives funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The program’s goal is to help young adults who are not in school overcome obstacles or barriers to employment.

“We’re trying to stair step them into adulthood, into the workforce,” said Latisha Calhoun, the agency’s office supervisor. “We are constantly looking for young adults to come in and enroll with us.”

Prospects can apply for the program online at the East Texas Workforce Solutions website or at the agency’s office inside the Palestine Mall.

The first step is a one-week course that helps job seekers overcome low confidence or lack of experience with coaching in interview skills and resume writing. Two participants, Jaicaylin Clewis and Christian Collins of Palestine, recently completed the career readiness course at the Palestine branch.

After the training, participants can go straight to work, or enroll in college classes after completing the course.

The program partners with local employers to provide on-the-job training, paying employees’ wages during the first few weeks of their employment.

Local employers that have contracted with Workforce Solutions include CVS, Crepes & Coffee, Goodwill, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, City of Palestine, Cartmell Home for the Aged, Crisis Center for Anderson and Cherokee County, Eagle RailCar, Best Western Palestine Inn, Candy Cane Corner, Hope Station, Palestine ISD and Palestine Veteran Services.

Calhoun said the program also helps young adults overcome lack of childcare or transportation, two barriers that commonly prevent them from taking jobs. The agency provides daycare vouchers, public transportation or gas cards.

Assistance is available to young adults year-round, as long as they meet the program’s qualifications.

“If they need the help and guidance, let us guide them through the process, and funding may be available,” Calhoun said.

Congress initiated the program to improve opportunities for young adults and to boost the strength of local economies.

“The WIOA program improves the quality of the workforce and enhances the productivity and competitiveness of the Texas workforce by preparing eligible young adults,” said Angelia Snow, area supervisor of East Texas Workforce Solutions.

The career readiness class is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays at the agency’s office inside the Palestine Mall. Video conference classes via Zoom are also available during the pandemic.

For more information or to make an appointment, visit the site online at or call the Palestine office at 903-212-9982.


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