The global pandemic upended learning on college campuses across our state, challenging students’ pursuit of post-secondary degrees in ways we had not anticipated. It also disrupted the global economy and deepened the mismatch between employer workforce needs and skilled workers. Texas community and technical colleges are committed to addressing this gap. It is time to take bold, purposeful action to strengthen our workforce, support employers and help our communities build a stronger economic recovery.
AUSTIN, Texas - Unemployment remains high despite the high demand for skilled workers.
Community colleges and Texas lawmakers have plans to meet those needs by re-skilling and up-skilling the Texas workforce.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) has filed Senate Bill 1102 and state Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) has filed its companion bill, House Bill 3003, to introduce a new proposal: Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education Initiative (TRUE).
Dr. Brent Wallace, chancellor at North Central Texas College, joins Mike Warren to discuss the TRUE initiative in the Texas Legislature.
Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) have filed the Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education Initiative, an investment in Texas community colleges and technical institutions to quickly reskill and upskill the Texas workforce and put Texans back to work in high-demand occupations.
Of the record number of Texans who lost their jobs and filed initial claims for unemployment, many lack skills to quickly reenter the workforce. The unemployment rate for individuals with a high school diploma or less remains significantly higher than for individuals with post-secondary credentials. As the current provider of more than 90% of credit-bearing career and technical education certificates, Texas community colleges are best positioned to close the skills gaps to good-paying jobs.
“Texas is a rapidly growing state, and our diverse economy requires a robust
When the last legislative session ended with huge wins for Texas public schools in the form of increased funding and teacher raises, higher education leaders looked to 2021, hopeful it would soon be their turn.
Texas Higher Education Commissioner Harrison Keller, who took the helm in the fall of 2019, started meeting with state lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott to push the idea that the next session should be focused on higher education, including a bill that could overhaul its funding.
Then, the pandemic hit.
Now, instead of the hike in spending they were hoping for, universities are trying to avoid budget cuts while advocating for more resources to serve students, many of whom have been hit hard by the past year.
“In some ways, it pulled the rug out from under us,” Keller told The Texas Tribune in an interview. “But this still needs to be a higher ed session. ... If anything
It’s tempting to believe once COVID-19 is contained, the U.S. economy will bounce back quickly, replenishing jobs and incomes lost in the pandemic. Yet, as presidents of community colleges that educate and train a substantial portion of the workforce, we have concerns driven by both recent data and historic perspective.
The data presents a significant early warning sign. When the labor market fully reopens, some high-demand jobs may be hard to fill even with millions of Americans looking for work. This is due to a copious drop-off in community college enrollments nationwide.
History shows that states facing revenue shortfalls often resort to across-the-board cuts. Fiscal responsibility is laudable, but major cuts made to higher education and need-based financial aid during the Great Recession, just as a rising number of unemployed and cash-strapped Americans needed to upgrade their