The following is adapted from testimony submitted by Texas 2036 Policy Advisor Renzo Soto to the House International Relations & Economic Development Committee on May 19, 2022.
While Texas continues its economic recovery from the pandemic’s recession and adjusts to the evolving modern labor market, the importance of organizing the state’s education and workforce systems to serve the needs of Texans remains a priority.
The good news: The state has made progress on a number of its objectives since we highlighted what a critical year 2022 is for our current and long-term workforce.
In addition to formalizing the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative, House Bill 3767, the Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act, calls on the Tri-Agency to align state agency strategies and budgets around cohesive state workforce development goals. This will allow the state to more efficiently improve our education-to-workforce pipeline.
Here are six things to know as the state implements HB 3767:
- With HB 3767 as a component, the Tri-Agency has committed to positive data reforms that will strengthen state workforce goals and strategies.
- There is a need to conduct robust employer engagement in state workforce planning.
- State workforce development goals should be disaggregated by region, race, ethnicity, and gender.
- Taxpayer-funded education and training programs should lead to self-sufficient wages.
- Under HB 3767, all state agencies receiving education and training dollars should align their expenditures with state workforce development goals.
- With reform, Texas community colleges can play a major role in helping the state resolve its current and future workforce challenges.
Addressing all six of these key points can provide the Texas State Legislature with the infrastructure and data necessary to emphasize workforce development in the next legislative session.
This is a new opportunity for Texas.
State leaders can organize a whole-of-government effort to address the pre- and post-pandemic educational and workforce needs facing our state. The Legislature took the first step in providing an effective framework to doing so through HB 3767, and the Tri-Agency has worked to turn the framework into action.
By fully engaging the six key points — data reforms, employer engagement, disaggregation, self-sufficient wage attainment, budget alignment, and community colleges — we can set up our education and workforce systems to better serve the Texans of today and tomorrow.