Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) Announces Near $2 Increase to Living Wage

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October 11, 2021

Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) Announces Near $2 Increase to Living Wage

El Paso, Texas (October 11, 2021) – A family of 3, including 2 full-time working adults and one child, must earn no less than $14.39 per hour to be able to provide basic family needs without leaning on public assistance. The latest Living Wage, also referred to as Family Wage was approved by the Workforce Solutions Board of Directors on September 16, and will serve as the benchmark for which occupations WSB participants are enrolled into training for the fiscal year beginning October 1. WSB will not invest in training for occupations that earn below this hourly wage. Previously, the Living Wage was set at $12.51 per hour.

Living Wage earnings reflect the geographics costs related to supporting a family with basic necessities including food, childcare, health insurance, housing, transportation, civic needs (quality of life recreational activities, and administrative expenses). According to the 2019 U.S. Census, the average household size is 2 adults and 1 child, from which WSB determined the standard living wage provided by the MIT Living Wage Calculator:
Each adult working full time ($59,879 ÷ 2) = $29,939
Hourly wage ($29,939 ÷ 2,080) = $14.39

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a total of 303,310 workers in El Paso, TX MSA (the year 2020). On average, almost half the workers earned $2.93 less each hour than the WSB Family Wage, equating to a shortage of annual wages in the amount of $6,106 per worker. Further, this translates to an overall shortage of $787,725 over the course of one year for the El Paso, Texas MSA ecosystem. Potential benefits of paying a Family Wage include:

  • The reduction of poverty and inequality
  • A stronger middle class, leading to a stronger local economy
  • The reduction of employee absenteeism and turnover
  • The improvement of employee morale and productivity
  • The reduction of dependency on costly social services

“The future ability of our economy to thrive is based on the living wage so that families can cover their most basic of needs,” Leila Melendez CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex said. “Anyone living below those wages poses a challenge for this economy to survive, much less thrive.”

Leila Melendez will be joining WSB’s Communications Director, Bianca Cervantes on a Facebook Live on Monday, October 11, 2021, at 4 pm. Media and the general public are encouraged to tune in at: Soundbites from Leila Melendez are available for media use and can be downloaded at:

In an effort to highlight jobs and industries that pay the Family Wage, the Texas workforce system is charged with developing strategies to target high-growth, high-demand, and emerging occupations that are critical to the state and local economies. Commonly referred to as “Target Occupations,” these lists of occupations are determined by Workforce Development Boards based on a number of economic indicators and local wisdom. In the Borderplex Region, we also refer to The Target Occupations as Hot Jobs.

The criterion for a Hot Job includes:

  • 10% or more Employment Growth within 10 years
  • 20 or more Openings per year
  • $14.39 or more Entry Hourly Wage (WSB Family Wage)

The 2022 Annual Hot Jobs report will be published by WSB in the Fall of 2021.



Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) is celebrating over 20 years of serving as the leader and pacesetter in aligning and creating opportunities for skilled workers and employers. WSB advances education, employment, entrepreneurship, and economic development prospects in support of global competitiveness and regional prosperity. The organization’s service region encompasses Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio counties. For more information about Workforce Solutions Borderplex, please contact Bianca Cervantes at (915) 887-2221 or visit 



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Media Contact:
Bianca Cervantes
Communications Director

Workforce Solutions Borderplex (WSB) Announces Near $2 Increase to Living Wage