Tamara Atkinson serves as the CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, the workforce development board for Austin, TX. Workforce Solutions Capital Area supports and connects local people to local jobs as a business-led and community-focused organization.
As the head of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Ms. Atkinson is responsible for strategic planning, oversight, and evaluation of Austin/Travis County’s workforce system. Workforce Solutions is a regional quasi-governmental entity organized as a non-profit. Ms. Atkinson oversees all operations within the organization, as well as external relations with elected officials, educational institutions, civic and business leaders, economic development, and national education and workforce entities. She manages a board of directors comprised of public/private sector leaders from across Travis County.
Ms. Atkinson has served Workforce Solutions in progressively more responsible positions for more than 20 years. Most recently, Ms. Atkinson expanded the Board’s impact through the creation of the Community Workforce Plan (ongoing today as the “Hire Local Plan”), Austin’s first comprehensive workforce strategic plan in order to better analyze and scale economic mobility through career education.
She holds her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of North Texas, later leading an English language school in North Africa for five years.
Garrett Groves is Chief of Staff & Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives at Austin Community College. He joined the college in February 2018 and leads the college’s efforts to identify emerging needs, evaluate opportunities for collaboration, and build strategic partnerships benefiting the region and ACC students.
Groves graduated from the University of Denver and earned his master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is a scholar in residence at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas where he continues his studies of workforce practices and consumer credit conditions in the state.
Before joining ACC, Groves directed the Economic Opportunity Program at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. He served at the National Governors Association where he worked with state and local entities on workforce, postsecondary education, and economic development policy. He has supported governors, senior policy advisors and local leaders on several initiatives designed to improve postsecondary to workforce transitions, including improving performance measurement strategies, coordinating employer engagement activities, and fostering regional collaboration. In particular, he helped lead Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin’s signature initiative as chair of the National Governors Association in 2014, which called on governors from across the country to bolster their talent development pipelines and align educational institutions, training programs and community-based organizations with employer needs and state economic development strategies.
Preceding his work at the National Governors Association, Garrett oversaw the rigorous evaluation of education and training programs in the Office of Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Labor, including random assignment evaluations of the YouthBuild program, Community-Based Job Training Grants and the ARRA High Growth and Emerging Industries grantees. He also served at various levels of Colorado state government, including the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Joint Budget Committee of the General Assembly, and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.