Photo - Beaumont Enterprise/Ken Brent August 5, 2019: Hardin County Judge
Billy Caraway dons a black Stetson given as a gift on behalf of Southeast Texas
Workforce by Marilyn Smith as county commissioner Ken Pelt looks on during
his retirement ceremony in 2014.
In Remembrance of Former Judge Billy Caraway
The Southeast Texas Workforce board staff would like to share their deep
condolences to the family of former Hardin County Judge Billy Caraway.
Caraway served as Chief Elected Official (CEO) for the workforce development
board from 1998 until his retirement from public office in 2014. Under his
leadership, the workforce system successfully met many challenges including support
of thousands of evacuees of Hurricane Katrina and the eventual evacuation of Southeast
Texas due to Hurricane Rita. As CEO, Judge Caraway and board members managed a total of $32
million dollar National Emergency Grant which helped to put hundreds of unemployed
residents back to work assisting with disaster recovery in Jefferson, Orange and Hardin
counties. At the time, it was the largest NEG grant ever issued by the Department of Labor.
Caraway was also instrumental during Hurricane Ike recovery, and in the administration of $10
million dollars of emergency funding.
"Judge Caraway was an awesome CEO", stated Marilyn Smith. "He was very supportive of the
Board and the mission to create a skilled, competitive workforce to meet the needs
of businesses in Southeast Texas. We appreciate his years of service to the local community."
From our files: Pictured are Judge Caraway and Pat Avery,
former board chair, receiving the 2011 Outstanding Service
Award for outstanding commitment and leadership.