Mayor Adler: “I say this every time I come in here; I love this space. I love this addition to the space. I love the energy that you have on the floors, and I love what the Capital Factory has brought to our city, so thank you. I want to say hi to everybody. It’s my opportunity and honor today to introduce the CEO and President of ACC.
“Before I get there, I just want to comment a little about what we have in front of us. I continue to believe that Austin is a magical city for many different reasons, and we are riding a wave right now. There are so many things that are happening in our city. We live in a city that is creating more middle-skill jobs than any city in the country. We live in a city where the unemployment rate is a full point below the state generally, and the country as a whole. There are some incredible things that are happening here. And we’re gonna create 60,000 middle-skill jobs over the next five years. So we have to celebrate all that is happening in our city, but at the same time we also have to notice that this rising tide does not lift all the boats. Some of the boats that people are in have leaks. We live in a city where the cost of housing is going up. When that happens, we begin to hollow out the middle of our city. And with that, the creative energies and sparks that make ours a city that creates art…the danger would be that we hollow out that middle and become a city that just consumes art. And that would not be the Austin, Texas that we all love.
“So a big part of this is figuring out how to plug the leaks when the boat is carrying so much of our community. We’re doing a lot of things to try to address that. And one of the things that happened here recently is I worked with County Judge Eckhardt and with ACC and Workforce Solutions and all the providers of Workforce Development to create the very first regional workforce plan that we have ever had in the region. We basically took Workforce Solutions as the lead and put all the folks involved in Workforce Development in a room and said, ‘Don’t come out until you can pick one metric that we’re going to measure everybody against in this community.’ And what they identified and came out with, we all adopted, including our city council. And we said, we’re gonna move people into middle-skill jobs. We’re gonna move 30,000 people into new middle-skill jobs. 10,000 of those people will be people that live in poverty today—that we’re going to move into those middle-skill jobs. That’s a really important thing in a community that has 60,000 jobs coming online. But we don’t match up with the people that live here, which means we’re going to have to continue to import people from outside the community to take those jobs until we do a better job of training the people that live here to take those jobs. That’s our challenge.
“Now a funny thing happened almost on the day that we announced that regional plan. I happened coincidentally to respond to an email that I received from somebody who was complaining about the screening of Wonder Woman. I found that people would stop me on the streets and say, ‘I love what you just wrote,’ and I thought they were talking about the workforce. Of course, it was the Wonder Woman letter.
“One of the reasons I’m excited about today is today is really a second bite at the apple. We get to talk about what we need to do in this community to preserve the spirit and soul of this place. It is moving people into and training them for middle-skill jobs—things that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree. They require a two-year degree, or a certificate, or a class, or a training. In just a second, there’s going to be an announcement about that.
“Tim, I want to thank you for everything that you do and what Apple does for this community. What an incredible validator for this community to have. Today’s announcement is really exciting and so consistent with and true to the work we need to do in this community. I’m excited about that. None of this would be possible without the leader that I am now going to introduce, Dr. Richard Rhodes. His leadership at ACC in expanding the campus, refurbishing the Highland Mall and turning it into such a spectacular education facility, opening the nation’s largest computerized learning center…All we need is a spaceship. Just sayin’. ACC is the number-one college choice in Central Texas, and you guys are at the table in helping us develop this regional workforce plan. You are going to be key to this community lifting 10,000 people in this community out of poverty and into middle-skill jobs. There is nothing this community shouldn’t be doing to support our community colleges.”