Ready Houston

The recent on-camera shooting of two television journalists in Virginia has led some to ask whether workplaces could be better prepared for these types of scenarios. So what can employers do?

Kathryn Decker/flickr

Have you ever applied for a job where they ask you to check a box if you have a criminal record?

Over the summer, Austin's District 4 City Council member Greg Casar put together a group to look for ways Austin businesses could change that practice, or, “ban the box.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Chaz Pitts-Kyser, Founder and Managing Editor of Careeranista.com and author of Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College.

Just 30 minutes of watching the nightly news is enough to make the average woman graduating from college want to crawl beneath the covers. The headlines always seem to come back to the sluggish economy, high rate of unemployment, fierce competition for jobs, and ultimately, just how unlucky young professionals are for having to build a career amid such misfortune.

The bad news? It really is a tough time for recent graduates. The good news? Armed with her new book, young women can gain the knowledge and insight needed to begin crafting rewarding careers despite any obstacles they may face.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Chaz Pitts-Kyser, Founder and Managing Editor of and author of Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College.


The global boom in energy production driven by fracking and horizontal drilling is leading to a shortage of skilled workers. A new report by the human resources firm Mercer says two-thirds of oil and gas companies are now poaching employees from their competitors.

"The industry seems inclined when an individual is trained and developed by a competitor to, especially in the first five years of employment, go after that key talent, as opposed to training and developing their own,"  says Philip Tenenbaum, a senior partner at Mercer. 

He says in some cases, the practice has become quite overt.  

Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

new study reported by the military news outlet Stars and Stripes ranks Houston as the number one city in the country for job-seeking veterans. Dallas and Austin rank second and fifth among major metropolitan cities.

The rankings, put together by the USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are the sunnier side of an issue affecting many veterans: finding employment after service ends. 


Jose Avila thought he could save money to pay off college loans by moving into his mother’s one-bedroom Houston apartment and working at a Subway restaurant. But he says he’s barely making ends meet on his $7.75-an-hour wage, and he considers taking the bus to work such an extravagance that he walks an hour and a half each way, unless it’s raining.

Avila, 22, says he plans to join fast-food workers in dozens of cities across the country on Thursday in a pre-Labor Day strike to call for $15-an-hour wages. Workers in Houston, Dallas and Austin plan to participate, organizers say.

A business in Austin is laying off hundreds of employees. OneWest Bank has notified the Texas Workforce Commission that intents to lay off more than 700 employees in Austin.

The California-based company is a mortgage services provider with offices in the Domain complex.

KUT News

Texas was given a $750,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help U.S. veterans find jobs when they come home.

Along with Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina, the grant will reach out to active-duty soldiers within 90 days of their return from the Army, Texas Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.


Austin’s economy added 30,500 jobs over the last year. The latest employment report shows the jobless rate dropped to 5.1 percent last month from 5.6 percent in April 2012. 

The recent job growth happened as more people were moving to the Austin-area looking for work. The civilian labor force grew by more than 27,000 in the past 12 months.

(Most recent update: 10 a.m. ET.)

The nation's jobless rate edged down to 7.5 percent in April from 7.6 percent in March and employers added 165,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin’s unemployment rate went down slightly from February to March – to 5.3 percent. The state rate was about one point higher (6.4 percent, seasonally adjudged; 6.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted).

Both numbers are well below the national rate for March: 7.6 percent.

Both the state and local rates are also well below what they were in March 2012 (7 percent and 6 percent, respectively).

KUT News

The City of Austin is hosting a community meeting tonight to introduce the top eight applicants to serve on the Municipal Civil Service Commission.

The commission, approved in November by voters as Proposition 10, will propose personnel rules for most City of Austin employees. They will also make final decisions in the cases of city employees who are appealing disciplinary action such as being suspended or demoted.


The City of Austin is hosting its third annual Career Expo today at the Palmer Center.

The event will feature over one hundred employers and local agencies including  Austin Fire Department, Austin Independent School District, Dell, Time Warner Cable, Grande Communications and Whole Foods.

Last year more than 3,500 people attended the Career Expo that offers almost 2,000 job openings. 

Garreth Wilcock/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/gjmj/5793428199/

New home construction is up by 27 percent in the Austin area, according to MetroStudy. The real estate tracking firm says there were 1,952 starts in the first three months of the year. That’s 413 more than the same quarter last year.

MetroStudy’s Austin market director Madison Inselmann says the surge in new building is helping to lift pay for construction workers.

KUT News

The Austin metro area’s unemployment rate is down almost one percentage point from a year ago, according to numbers released Friday. The jobless rate in the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was 5.4 percent in February. That compares with 6.2 percent from a year ago.

The industry sector with the largest percentage gain was construction. For real estate analyst Mark Sprague with Independence Title, it comes as no surprise.

KUT News

There is one week left to apply for the five-member Municipal Civil Service Commission. It's part of Proposition 10 that Austin voters approved in November. It establishes a municipal service system for most city employees.

According to the City of Austin, the Municipal Civil Service Commission will help to establish certain personnel rules. The commission will then make final decisions on appeals of disciplinary actions by most City of Austin employees. The commission is expected to hear cases from city employees or are fired, demoted or denied a promotion.


If you’re going into work today, you must not have gotten the memo.

Today, many City of Austin employees and employees from some local business are partaking in Austin’s first “Work from Home Day." It's a citywide initiative to reduce the environmental impact of thousands of people driving to work.


Austin’s unemployment rose from 4.9 to 5 percent in December, while Texas’s overall unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent from 7.4 percent last year.

Mark Lavergne, spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission, said the change in unemployment in Austin is a slight change. What is more significant, he said, was the unemployment change in Austin and Texas in the past year. Austin’s unemployment has dropped to 5 percent from 6.1 a year ago, while Texas’s unemployment rate has fallen from 7.4 percent to 6.1 in the past year.

There were 335,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, down 37,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

That's the lowest total for any one week since January 2008.