Wednesday, November 28, 2012
By Eladio Jaimez
Texas Governor Rick Perry announced on Tuesday a skilled workforce initiative at Texas State Technical College aimed at cutting the time necessary for a student to earn a certificate and join the workforce. The initiative is a partnership between the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency, the governor’s office and the TSTC System Perry said.
Perry made the announcement on the TSTC-Harlingen campus along with TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser, school president Dr. Cesar Maldonado, state representative J.M. Lozano, state representative Eddie Lucio III, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Williams and Dow Chemical representative Doug Whipple.
“Texas has a firm grasp of the definition and characterization of being the most job-friendly state in the nation,” Perry said. “The real drivers of the Texas economy are the men and women who risk their capital and have been able to create an amazing climate that’s led to a noticeable increase in demand for certified, skilled workers. “
Perry said the biggest demand for skilled workers has been in the manufacturing sector and noted that job demand has doubled in the past three years. The demand is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2020, Perry said.
“The framework for technical training is now put in place to enable workers to earn technical certification fast and make it affordable,” Perry said. “This will cut the time necessary to earn a certificate without sacrificing one iota of quality.”
Perry said the first effort in the initiative will target the advanced manufacturing and industrial business sectors.
“By design, the initiative can be replicated by the needs of any industry or sector and ramped up when industry’s needs are met,” Perry said.
Perry said the initiative targets specific groups like veterans, displaced workers and career-focused high school graduates and removes any “roadblocks” a potential worker might face in finding work that calls for specific qualifications.
“Many candidates have specialized training and real work experience but lack a certificate,” Perry said. “Competency-based learning. It cuts down time, minimizes cost and doesn’t force anyone to sit through courses they already know.”
Chancellor Reeser praised the efforts being made by all agencies including the TSTC system, as this initiative will be started in Harlingen but placed in all four TSTC campuses across the state.
“Texans get great jobs in Texas industries and likewise Texas industries have the skilled workforce they need to continue the prosperity of the Texas economy,” Reeser said.