2020 Community Forum: Recap

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 / Williamson County Jester Annex

Over 75 community members came together for the 2020 Community Forum at the Williamson County Jester Annex in Round Rock, Texas. The event was hosted by Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties (OWBC).

As an agency, we are required to complete a Community Needs Assessment Survey, asking members of the Williamson County and Burnet County communities to share their community needs with us directly. This year, we incorporated a forum component to the needs assessment survey. Community members, leaders, partners, and staff were all in attendance.

Every few years, we’re required to do a community assessment. What’s going on out there? Are we actually meeting the needs of our community? If we’re not, how do we go about doing that? – Marco Cruz, Executive Director at OWBC

For the first component of the forum, we invited industry expert panelists to discuss topics like employment and livable wages, education, housing, healthcare, and transportation–to name a few.


Kelli Becerra – Community Partnerships Manager at Williamson County and Cities Health District


Tiffany Price – LifePark Center Director at LifePark Center (BlueBonnet Trails Community Services)

Tiffany explained that LifePark Center looks at the needs of the community and is a place that helps families navigate services. “We elevate the quality of life for the whole east Williamson County area and look to bring out the best in the community,” she said.

Diane Tackett – Chief Operations Officer at Workforce Solutions – Rural Capital Area

Diane discussed Workforce’s goal in the community as identifying employers and helping to build a workforce that is stable, strong, and supported. Diane added, “We do skills assessments and offer skills trainings. We focus on the quality of early care in the education community. When your children are being invested in, parents have the better opportunity to be able to focus on their career advancement.”

Dena Yantz – Education Coordinator at Opportunities for Williamson & Burnet Counties (Head Start)

Dena broke down the programs that OWBC provides for the community. “Head Start is one of the programs OWBC offers. We do education for children, birth to 5 years old. We do pre-natal, as well, to make sure parents are getting the proper help and education to allow their families to thrive in the future. We also provide a Meals on Wheels program, case management and energy assistance, and affordable housing.”

For the second component of the forum, we broke down into small focus groups by county to really hone in on the local issues and needs by area. The report for this community forum and the community needs survey will be shared in May 2020. Stay tuned!

Written by Emily Hayes