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Upcoming career advancement opportunities in the panhandle

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AMARILLO - Despite Amarillo having one of the lowest unemployment rates of any city in Texas, there are several upcoming opportunities to help people get a job or advance their career.

A 10-week program starting next week is aimed towards getting single parents into higher-paying, professional jobs. Starting next Wednesday, West Texas A&M's "Motivation in Motion" will kick off for the fourth semester. The program is led by WTAMU's Enactus program, a group of students from the College of Business. The course was created to give single mothers workforce training from local professionals and WTAMU professors. This time around, the program is open to any single parent, not just mothers. "We had some men call me up and say 'I really want to go through your program but I'm not a single mother,' so that's kind of why we decided we would open it up and also to be able to expand and get more people in the class," said WTAMU Enactus Co-President Mary Dittfurth.

The class is every Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and teaches job seekers the skills they need to get hired in a higher-paying, professional positions. To be a part of the class, you can register at the orientation Wednesday, September 25 at 5:30 at the West Texas A&M center in the Chase Tower in downtown Amarillo. "We teach things like resume building, different kids of office skills like Excel, and Microsoft Word and how to conduct an interview or be in an interview," Dittfurth said. But if you're a job seeker who happens to be busy Wednesday nights, the Texas Work Force Commission has a branch in Amarillo that offers many of the same opportunities. "Our job is to help employers and job seekers find each other basically," Director of Workforce Solutions Trent Morris said.

Morris says programs like the ones Workforce Solutions and WTAMU Enactus offers contribute to Amarillo's low unemployment rate. "We're doing well," Morris said. "Compared to the rest of the state, we're the third lowest unemployment rate behind Midland and Odessa." Five percent of the panhandle population is unemployed, which is great compared to the rest of the nation at 7.2 percent. But that still means 7,000 people are struggling in the panhandle, and that's what Motivation in Motion and Workforce Solutions want to change. "It's really important that people understand that skills are what help them find jobs and so making sure that their skill levels are what the employers are looking for is really important," Morris said.

The Work Force Commission is holding a job fair this Saturday in Hereford from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hereford Community Center. Fifteen employers will be there. Morris says you can just show up in professional attire and bring your resume ready for interviews. Another Workforce Solutions job fair will be October 8th at the Amarillo Civic Center, with about 100 employers.

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