House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep Eddie Bernice Johnson, Workforce Solutions President Laurie Bouillion Larrea (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

On Saturday, May 12, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi toured the new Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas office on Malcolm X Boulevard in South Dallas with Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson and community leaders.

A roundtable discussion followed on how transportation, education and state agencies like the Texas Workforce Commission help keep people in the DFW area employed and the regional unemployment rate low.

“This organization is a solution to the challenge,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi participated by commenting on what the federal government is doing or should be doing to help.

Since Oct. 1, Texas Workforce Solutions has served 9,985 employers. Among the challenges to keeping people employed with a living wage is that in Dallas County, 300,000 people have no high school or equivalency diploma, according to Dallas County Community College Chancellor Joe May.

A bright spot is the community college. DCCC currently has 160,000 students. To meet the challenge of getting economically disadvantaged students to a college campus, DART now issues all DCCCD students free transportation passes.

The college encourages all students to apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) grants. For those who don’t qualify, local money is available to supplement FAFSA funding.

In addition to those who need education and training, TWC has identified and works with three groups that have difficulty finding and retaining employment — those with a criminal record, immigrants and people with accessibility issues.

While listening to leaders talk about the challenges they face, Pelosi commented indirectly on the current political situation. She slyly told the group she expects Democrats to become the majority in the House by referring to Johnson, who is the ranking member of the House Science and Technology Committee, as the chair of the committee in the next Congress.

“The tax bill is a dark cloud,” Pelosi said. Referring to the $1.5 trillion it adds to the deficit, she added, “What if we spent a trillion and a half on infrastructure?”

And the practical information I personally learned from the morning workshop is that if you’re looking for work, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas is a great place to start. With a wide variety of services, the best place to start is with a resume writing class. Job fairs are held regularly at the office and staff can steer you in directions you never thought of and have latest information on who’s hiring.

— David Taffet