Elon Musk’s Move to Austin Could Lead to an Interesting Dilemma
Elon Musk made it publically known what he is looking for in the city of Austin as Tesla begins establishing its presence in the city.
The demand to fill the positions at Tesla will likely come from current Austin residents and those relocating to the area. At this time, 270 job positions were listed on Tesla’s website focusing on managerial and engineering positions.
Austin has a healthy population shy of 1 million residents with 979,000 as of July 2019.
Tesla officials have said they’ve built relationships with Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University, the University of Texas, and the Del Valle Independent School District to develop workforce strategies.
Tesla factory in Austin requires 10,000 + workers by the end of 2022.
In a recent Tweet from Elon Musk, this is a short timeline for Austin. The current unemployment rate for Austin is 5.6% as of February according to the US Labor of Bureau Statistics.
“Tesla is a fantastic addition to the region. The jobs that they’re bringing are important and will help people have meaningful careers,” Ed Latson, executive director of Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, said. “However, the workforce community and associations like ARMA really need to ensure that we have programs in place to inspire young people into these careers because there is going to be a shortage of skilled workers.”
Elon Musk did the same when he opened a Tesla factory in Reno.
As of February, Austin had 63,000 people employed in manufacturing which is down 1.4 percent from 2020 according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. From 2009 to 2019, manufacturing employment grew by 27 percent according to Texas Workforce Commission data.
Tesla is the largest manufacturer and seller of high-end electric cars. The company is known for its electric cars that don’t have a gas-powered reserve like other cars.
Benefits for Tesla employees
For benefits, Tesla offers a great plan. Starting pay is expected to average $47,000. Employees who work for Tesla receive health care for basic dental, healthcare, and vision. Also included is coverage for medical supplies, hospital room accommodations, and travel emergencies.
For life insurance, employees can get coverage up to $1 million.
For pregnancy, Tesla offers some of the best plans available. They offer 12 weeks for maternity leave and 7 weeks of paternity leave.
They offer employees a 15% discount on Tesla stock (Stock Ticker: TSLA) and vacation time.
Travis County and Austin City Council set aside about $3.2 million to support the WorkNow program that is under the Workforce Solutions Capital Area. The program focuses on employees entering the information tech, manufacturing, skilled trades, and health care fields.
The CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Tamara Atkinson, said the city needs to put more focus on reskilling the unemployed population in Austin.
“If the question is, does Austin have the labor force? The answer is yes. Then the next question is, do they have the skills to be able to qualify for the jobs that Tesla and others that are growing in our economy? The answer is not yet,” Atkinson said. “The opportunity here is to use the American Rescue Plan dollars to invest in workforce development training, to ensure that these Covid-impacted unemployed and underemployed individuals can rapidly attain the skills so that they can qualify for these jobs… It’s not a matter of getting ahead of the curve — the curve is here.”
People outside of Austin will benefit from Tesla’s facility if Austin can not fill the demand for employment.
Elon Musk’s move to Austin could bring more attention to this city and help Musk save some money with the lower tax rate compared to California.
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Tom Handy is a top writer on Medium, former Quora writer, and father of two kids. He retired from the Army and sits on several non-profit boards. You can find him on Twitter @tomhandy1 and Life is Like a Game. This article may contain affiliate links and the writer may receive a commission.