Investing in a long-term skilled workforce: A guide

The Texas House and Senate have passed the General Appropriations Act, House Bill 1, and the supplemental appropriations bill, Senate Bill 30. The state leveraged a historic budget surplus to invest into the future of Texas. Across many of these investments, the Legislature was resoundingly clear that the development of a long-term skilled workforce is a key priority.

Here are the highlights:

Community College Finance:

Throughout this session, Texas 2036 has been tracking HB 8, the state’s proposal for historic community college finance reform with a focus on workforce returns for students and employers. HB 8 has passed the legislative process, and it now awaits the governor’s signature.

Once it becomes law, HB 1 appropriates over $690 million to implement the reforms. Included in that sum is:

  • $428 million in new formula funding for community colleges,
  • $139 million in additional funding for need-based financial aid for both community and technical colleges,
  • $78.6 million in dual credit scholarships for low-income high school students, and
  • $33 million in innovation and collaboration grants designed to help meet statewide and regional workforce needs.
Work-based Learning:

Apprenticeships, internships, and other work-based learning opportunities have received significant state funding this session. HB 1 appropriates over $40 million for apprenticeships, which includes programs like the Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program and pre-apprenticeship programs for young Texans.

Self-Sufficient Wage Attainment:

HB 1 appropriates $5 million to the Lone Star Workforce of the Future Fund. This fund is established to aid public community and technical colleges and non-profit workforce development organizations in training unemployed and underemployed individuals so that they can secure employment that pays a self-sufficient wage.

Higher Education Endowment:

In the fall, Texas voters will be considering a constitutional amendment proposing a significant endowment for emerging higher education research universities. SB 30 provides $3 billion for the Texas University Fund, which is established to enhance emerging research universities’ ability to reach national research prominence. This will ultimately allow Texas to both attract and develop world-class research talent.

Healthcare Workforce:

Frontline workers received notable attention this legislative session. Healthcare workers in particular saw key investments. This includes:

  • $233.1 million for graduate medical education, ensuring that doctors-in-training have access to residency opportunities within the state.
  • $280.5 million appropriated to the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium to fund initiatives such as child telemedicine and psychiatric access, workforce expansion, and coordinated research.
  • Finally, various financial aid programs will provide targeted support towards specific healthcare professions, including $25 million for new nursing scholarships and other nursing grants.

Significant attention was given to education and workforce this session, resulting in several generational investments from the Texas Legislature. Stay tuned for additional analysis from Texas 2036 outlining more of these investments.

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