Students & Young Adults

Wingspan is the “Taking Flight” program (WIOA Youth) and the “SOAR” Program (Education Outreach) administered by Workforce Solutions of Central Texas. It is dedicated to empowering the next generation of successful and independent young adults by guiding them through career possibilities and establishing a solid foundation of skills, training, and experience.
Wingspan serves in-school youth (ages 14–21) & out-of-school young adults (ages 16–24) living in Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, Mills, and San Saba counties. Partnering with school districts, colleges, and employers, we identify high-demand occupations in the region to develop curriculum and target training.

Student Occupational Awareness & Recognition

The goal of the Student Occupational Awareness and Recognition Program (SOAR) is to expose, educate, and engage students in career development and career decision-making. The program provides career services to students at public middle and high schools, grades six through twelve, and students receive in-depth education and direction on career choices as well as access to the up-to-date labor market and career data. The SOAR Program offers many resources to help students to become workforce ready!

Classroom Career Course/Workshop Topics:

Exploring Potential and Career Assessment: Helping students understand their interests, strengths, values, and personality traits can be a foundational step in career preparation. Activities such as self-assessment surveys, reflection exercises, and career exploration tools can help students gain insights into their unique qualities and how they relate to different careers.

Career Research and Exploration: Introducing students to a wide range of careers across various industries and fields can broaden their horizons and help them explore different career options. Students can research different careers using online resources, conduct informational interviews, and engage in job shadowing or career exploration activities to learn about the day-to-day tasks, skills, education, and requirements of different careers.

Goal Setting and Career Planning: Teaching students how to set career goals, create action plans, and manage their time effectively can help them develop a sense of purpose and direction. Students can learn about short-term and long-term goal setting, creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals, and the importance of planning and organizing in career preparation.

Education and Training Pathways: Providing students with information about various education and training pathways can help them understand the different routes to different careers. This can include information about high school coursework, post-secondary education options such as college, vocational schools, apprenticeships, or trade schools, and the importance of lifelong learning and skill development.

Job Search and Workplace Readiness: Preparing students for the job search process and the expectations of the workplace is crucial. Topics such as resume writing, interviewing skills, professional etiquette, workplace communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills can be covered to help students develop workplace readiness skills.

Financial Literacy and Budgeting for Career Preparation: Teaching students about financial literacy and budgeting can help them understand the financial aspects of career preparation, including budgeting for education and training expenses, understanding different types of employment compensation, and managing personal finances. This session includes topics such as budgeting, saving, and managing student loans.

By covering these six primary areas of study, middle school students can develop a strong foundation for career preparation and be better equipped to make informed decisions about their future career paths. It is important to provide practical, relevant, and engaging activities and resources that are tailored to the developmental level and interests of middle school students to make the learning experience meaningful and impactful.

Other available resources include:

Student One-on-Ones—The words career, job, and occupation are often used interchangeably. The SOAR Program helps students identify career pathways and the education that is needed to accomplish their goals through one on one discussions. The SOAR Outreach Specialist will make themselves available to students during lunch periods to have informal discussions about careers and the paths that students should take to achieve their goals.

Student Career Assessment and Interest Profiler—Your SOAR Career Coach can help your students find out what their interests are and how they relate to the world of work. Students will also be able to determine what they like to do. The program helps students decide what kind of pathway they might want to pursue.

Virtual Reality Career Navigation—TRANSFR's Virtual Training simulates the type of work that takes place in the employer's facility. With one-to-one instruction from a SOAR Career Coach who adapts to the middle school students' performance, Virtual Reality Career Navigation safely replicates an on-the-job environment in the classroom
- giving students real experiences related to the occupations without the overhead of a multi-million dollar training facility while
providing real-life experiences.

For more information on how your school district can participate, please contact:

Charley Ayres,
Director Industry/Education Partnerships

Taking Flight

Taking Flight is targeted at students and young adults (16–24) and provides support for them to achieve the education, skills, and experience needed to accomplish their goals and bring it all together with a good job to start a career or earn money while they work toward a degree/certification. Taking Flight is a no-cost employment program designed to give youth and young adults the support and/or skills training they need to find a job. Specifically, Taking Flight can provide:


  • Job search assistance
  • Child care assistance while in training
  • Transportation assistance
  • Interview clothing and uniforms
  • Tools needed for your new job
  • Funding for basic skills and occupational training

    The program is a competency-based work experience that includes work-readiness workshops, and training components that focus on workplace expectations, leadership skills, and financial management. On-site work experience with employers is a major part of the program. If you are an employer and you are interested in supporting this program complete the Worksite Agreement and contact our Wingspan Specialist, Caithryn Grace at 254.200.2207 or at Participants work with staff to complete resumes and learn job-search skills. They can receive cash incentives when employment is confirmed. Services include monthly follow-ups with participants to monitor progress, provide employment referrals, and arrange further assistance if needed.

    Documents Needed to Apply:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Picture ID
  • Transcript/Diploma/GED
  • Proof of income for the past 6 months

    Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a citizen or non-citizen authorized to work in the United States
  • Meet Military Selective Service registration requirements
  • Meet income level requirements

Career Guidance

Planning for a career can feel overwhelming. The more you know about your skills and preferences, the more prepared you are to search for jobs that are a good fit, write resumes, interview with employers, and find the career that best suits you. 

Workforce specialists will help you learn about occupations available in Central Texas that fit your unique career preferences, skills, interests, and values. We provide current labor market information to give you the opportunity to research in-demand occupations, salaries, career options, required education, and training/skills levels.

Additional Career Guidance Resources

Texas Internship Challenge

The Texas Internship Challenge is a recommendation from the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency, and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to the Governor’s Office, as part of the Tri-Agency Initiative, challenging industry and employer partners to offer more paid internships for Texas students.

Summer Earn And Learn Program

The Summer Earn & Learn program provides students with disabilities work readiness training and paid work experience in Texas. The program is a partnership between TWC, Local Workforce Development Boards and Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS). Students can earn money at a part-time summer job while receiving work skills training!

Contact Our Student Hireability Navigator

Useful Links

The Workforce Solutions Of Central Texas System Is An Equal Opportunity Employer/Programs. Equal Opportunity Is The Law.
Auxiliary Aids And Services Are Available Upon Request To People With Disabilities.
Relay Texas: 711 • TDD: 1-800-735-2989 • Voice: 1-800-735-2988

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