8 Ways to Bolster Texas’ Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative Goals and Strategies

Record job levels in Texas is certainly cause to celebrate the state’s economic success. However, the state must also ensure we’re prepared to fill those jobs with qualified Texans in order to sustain these celebrations through our bicentennial and beyond. One way we do this: fully implement House Bill 3767, the Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act. 

Recently, the Tri-Agency —  Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and Texas Workforce Commission —  proposed draft strategies to achieve the state’s first-ever workforce development goals. The state’s workforce development strategies should ensure that taxpayer-funded career education and training programs not only achieve the state’s goals, but also lead to good-paying employment opportunities for each Texan served.

Texas 2036 highlighted eight areas of opportunity that can bolster the state’s strategies: 

  1. All state career education and training programs should lead to job opportunities that will, at minimum, provide a self-sufficient wage, which is a wage high enough for a single worker to afford their family’s basic needs without government assistance. 
  2. The $100 billion that the state spends annually on education and workforce should be aligned with achieving the workforce development goals.
  3. Defining career pathways tailored to regional workforce demands, emerging opportunities, and upskilling for current workers can meet the diverse workforce needs of both employers and workers. 
  4. Adopting specific expansion targets for state-supported work-based learning, such as apprenticeships, and reskilling and upskilling programs can develop the capacity needed to serve all Texans seeking these services. 
  5. Opportunities to earn a credential of value that leads to a good-paying job, including microcredentials, should be available at Texas high schools so that young Texans are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully transition to the workforce – regardless of whether or not they pursue higher education.   
  6. Texas employers should be involved in the development and implementation of state workforce development goals and strategies to ensure that local and regional labor market insights are embedded into the state’s efforts. 
  7. The Tri-Agency should pursue workforce data improvements that will create better linkages between education and training programs and employers’ real-time workforce needs. 
  8. All state education institutions should be provided with state education and workforce data so that institutional programming decisions are based on improving Texans’ educational and workforce outcomes.

Texas’ economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been strong — and we have an opportunity to guarantee long-term economic success for our state and our fellow Texans. This will require a whole-of-government effort alongside strategic partnerships with local and regional stakeholders, which can be secured through workforce development strategies that fully leverage each of the eight areas of opportunity. This is how we can jointly sustain the Texas Miracle for future generations of Texans.