Haunting Halloween workforce figures: What’s to be done?

This is a preview of our Texas 2036 newsletter with what you need to know about future workforce needs. To receive this weekly look at our work, sign up here.

When it comes to workforce, more work is needed

This is Halloween… and just in time for the holiday, here’s a few frightening figures illustrating the case for action in preparing the workforce of the future.

🎃 36% of Texas high school graduates earn a postsecondary credential within six years of graduation.

🎃 11% of high-wage Texas jobs are held by workers with a high school diploma or less.

🎃 12th: Texas’ ranking among 12 peer states in its rate of working-age adults with a postsecondary credential.

But there’s nothing scary about the latest job numbers! 📈

The current positive trend line on Texas job numbers continues.

14 million… the job-generating dynamo that is the Texas economy shows little sign of slowing down. The Texas Workforce Commission announced this month that nonfarm employment increased by 61,400 positions in September.

That raises the number of jobs in Texas past the 14 million mark for the first time.

Other stats of note:

  • 24: consecutive months where the state has set a new record level of jobs.
  • 31: consecutive months of job growth
  • 435,800: the growth in jobs in Texas since September 2022.

An important caveat… In the long term, policymakers and stakeholders must pay attention to closing the attainment gap if they aim to keep Texas a national leader in job generation.

Workforce attainment slide newsletter

Looking back at the not-so-distant past: As part of its 2021 analysis of workforce issues, the Aim Hire Texas coalition identified this concerning trend of the massive drop from 2011 through 2019 in high-wage jobs available to those with a high school diploma or less.

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Over the same time period, the focus of job growth in Texas was in low and middle wage jobs, a phenomenon more pronounced here than in the nation as a whole.

Where the jobs are

Dallas Fed employment growth Sept 2023 workforce newsletter

In its latest Texas Economic Performance and Outlook report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas highlights the job-generating performance of the following sectors:

  • Education and Health Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional and Business Services

According to the bank’s analysis, these three industries combine for about 36% of total state employment in September 2023. Growth in these areas is significant for the state’s broader job market.

Read the Dallas Fed report here.

❗️ Manufacturing is experiencing a boost in Texas due to investments from tech companies in areas like semiconductor manufacturing.

An update on community college reform

House Bill 8, the Legislature’s signature community college finance reform piece, continues to move through the rulemaking process.

Texas 2036 has been actively involved in the multiyear effort to better align funding for community colleges to improve the educational experiences of students and better prepare them to succeed in the workforce.

Here’s what you need to know about the current state of play on implementing HB 8:

Emergency rules adopted: The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted its set of emergency rules to allow for the beginning of HB 8’s implementation in the current school year.

Next steps: In January, the THECB will adopt permanent rules for the current fiscal year. In April, the board will adopt rules to govern fiscal year 2025.

Why it matters: Following this approach to rulemaking allowed money to get out the door and to community colleges by the start of the current academic year while providing the state with the opportunity to make necessary adjustments in future years.

💪 What we’ve done to help: Texas 2036 created a foundational framework, paired with persistent engagement, to help align and organize efforts undertaken by state leaders, higher education institutions, and other stakeholders — culminating in a straightforward path to realize the benefits of initiatives maximizing the value of higher education and addressing workforce needs through community college finance reform.

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👉 The bottom line… Solid strategies to create better alignments between educational attainment and workforce needs along with the better identification of postsecondary credentials with real workplace value hold the key to creating the workforce that will make Texas the best place to live, work and raise a family through 2036 and beyond.

👷‍♀️ Do you think Texas has done enough to develop the next generation of workers?

Let us know in our short survey!

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