News Release

Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
Date:December 15, 2020
Contact:
Kelli Weldon, 512-424-6951

Innovative Job Training Program Puts High School Seniors, Adults on Career Path to Success

“It’s given me a new level of pride and new level of confidence…”

AUSTIN – The first graduates from Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s new partnership pilot program, Texas Works Path to Success, are beginning their careers with HHSC and connecting Texans with services like food benefits and health care. The pilot program offers job training and career opportunities to low-income adults and high school seniors in the Houston area.

“With Texas Works Path to Success, we’re putting people on a career path where they may not have had one,” said Wayne Salter, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Access and Eligibility Services. “It feels good to know we’re making a lasting change in people’s lives, and in a community, by changing the circumstances that may have led them to think a role with us wasn’t possible.”

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, Goodwill Industries of Houston, Houston Independent School District and Houston Can Academies, the program offers a path to self-sufficiency that will provide lasting change in people’s lives. The program aims to help up to 100 eligible participants in its first year.

Texas Works Path to Success equips adults and high school seniors with job skills training necessary for work as a Texas Works Advisor I or Clerk in a Houston-area eligibility office for health and human services programs. Students are guaranteed a job after they successfully complete Advisor I training and graduate high school.

For the adult program, eight-week classes are held throughout the year, and graduates are offered job opportunities after successful completion of the program. A new adult class started in September, and due to COVID-19, the class is now virtual. Graduation for the inaugural adult class took place Oct. 23.

The goal of TWPS is to reduce the impact of situational and generational poverty by increasing participants’ economic self-reliance, housing stability and educational advancement. This program allows participants to build a brighter future for themselves, family and community, as well as have a full-time career with personal and professional growth opportunities.

A recent graduate of the program, Angela Mitchell, said the program offers a chance for people to build a solid foundation for their career and support their family.

“It’s just given me a new level of pride and new level of confidence knowing that I don’t have a job, I have a career,” Mitchell said. “I’m proud because the sky’s the limit for me.”

Goodwill Houston and Houston ISD are also providing training opportunities as part of the TWPS program.

“Goodwill Houston is grateful to be in partnership with the USDA and Health and Human Services to provide career pathways that accelerate individuals into high demand occupations that is transformational for them and their families,” said Alma Duldulao-Ybarra, MBA,Goodwill Houston’s vice president of workforce development. “Goodwill assisted with the recruitment, providing them with power soft skills, and the support services to assure that they complete training and are placed into fulfilling jobs.”

“I am excited about our students’ participation in this extraordinary Career and Technical Education program,” Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “Opportunities like this have the power to change the lives of our students, their communities, families and future generations to come.”

"The Texas Works Path to Success program is a great example of how government can and should always encourage self-sufficiency for individuals in safety net programs," said State Rep. James Frank, chairman of the House Committee on Human Services. "When government programs encourage more training, education and work opportunities for welfare recipients, it puts those individuals on the path to economic mobility instead of trapping them in poverty. I commend the new graduates, applaud their hard work, and look forward to their service at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission."

For more information, visit the Texas Works Path to Success webpage.

Visuals

New video is available, including produced video of the project and downloadable video sound bites from Wayne Salter.