Texans have endured enormous challenges over the past year, and our state’s economic outlook depends on a speedy and strategic recovery to the COVID-19 crisis. The solution to our current crisis will not be found in dozens of state agencies pulling in different directions. Instead, the solution should be found in strong, transparent, and accountable collaborations between agencies who have received billions in COVID-19 workforce and educational funding.
The Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act, introduced in the Texas legislature, seeks to address these needs. House Bill 3767 and its Senate companion, SB 1622, would make permanent the temporary collaborative work of the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) over the past two interims. In order to enhance effectiveness, the Act provides strong guidelines and seeks to maximize taxpayer value. Under this initiative the THECB, TWC, and TEA would be required to:
- Identify statewide workforce goals, including goals for the attainment of living-wage jobs. This will hold the state accountable and keep all agencies pulling in the same direction.
- Designate career pathways for occupations aligned with current workforce needs and for forecasted, high-growth careers and skills.
- Evaluate career education and training programs across Texas based on the workforce outcomes of program participants to ensure transparency and accountability in how the state spends its workforce dollars
As a part of the Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act, these agencies would also need to modernize their data systems to better serve Texans. This includes:
- Creating tools that enable average Texans to evaluate workforce programs.
- Building a platform to provide students with information on employment outcomes and earning potential for possible career pathways.
- Creating and making public a unified, easily accessible dashboard with data on the state’s progress toward meeting its workforce development goals.