For a stronger economy, reskill and upskill the Texas workforce
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.
That is why, in partnership with business and community leaders, we are proposing the Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education (TRUE) initiative to strengthen the economic recovery and build a stronger Texas workforce.
“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. Millions of Texans were affected when the job market transformed overnight, and many lack skills to quickly reenter the workforce.”
While the unemployment rate continues to decline, it remained at 6.9% in February 2021, more than double the rate from a year earlier.
This is not just a problem for workers, but also for businesses struggling to hire. There were already significant skills gaps before the pandemic, with more than 6 million jobs unfilled at the end of 2019. Now, as highly skilled baby boomers continue to leave the workforce, our companies and our economy depend on younger people able to acquire the education, skills and credentials our labor market requires.
TRUE will connect community and technical colleges with employers to highlight areas of future job growth and to provide high-quality training in high-demand career areas. The initiative will also bring industry and education together to develop new — or redesign existing — industry-aligned, high-demand postsecondary programs that lead to career credentials that can be completed in six months or less.
Our economy works best when our education system aligns with the needs of employers.
TRUE, which the Texas Legislature is considering this session, advances that alignment. That is why many prominent employer groups support the measure, including the Texas Association of Manufacturers, the Texas Business Leadership Council, The Texas Chemical Council and the Texas Association of Business.