Innovation in Texas Education

Business leaders agree that to keep our economy strong over the long-term,  we must educate and teach our young students the skills they’ll need to fill the jobs spectrum – from the technical fields to manufacturing and all points in between.

In fact the Texas 2050 Coalition thinks it’s so important that “education and workforce development” are # 1 on our list of legislative priorities.  It’s a near-term priority with long-term benefit.

Today, the “high tech” sector does as much recruiting from other states and countries as it does training Texas students to fill these high-paying jobs.

The Central Texas/Austin area, for example, produces only about ½ of the computer science graduates needed to fill the open jobs in 19 of Austin’s key high-tech occupations, according to the Austin Technology Council.

The Texas Legislature is considering ways to change that so that the technology industries – present and future – that will drive the new economy are created right here in Texas.

One proposal would establish a Pathways in Technology Early College High School Program – or P-Tech.   This program got its start through a partnership between IBM and New York City schools and Texas could be next.  A bill by Sen. Larry Taylor would provide $ 5 M to help school districts set up their own program.

P-Tech is a six -year program that starts in high school and combines academic learning with practical application in a business environment.  In this case, IBM provides students a first-in-line interview for a full-time job with the company.  The students can also choose to pursue a four-year degree instead.

There’s a similar program already in place.  Dell and Austin ISD have started Career Launch, a workforce training program at two Austin high schools.  Dell employees will help train students in fields like cyber security, date mining, and applied science.   The students are working toward not only a high school diploma but an associate college degree.

The Austin American Statesman reported on this recently: http://www.statesman.com/news/austin-manor-districts-launch-workforce-training-academies/u6DfHXvqLdMdOFpw2gvQ8M/

This type of innovation in education is proving popular with students.

A P-Tech program at Seagoville High School in the Dallas area attracted. 5,000 students for 2,700 seats.

Our Texas 2050 business coalition is also supporting Career Technical Education (or CTE) courses; the post-secondary 60x30TX plan; AND, funding for digital learning and classroom connectivity in every district in Texas.

There’s no better investment of taxpayer dollars than educating our children and doing it in a practical, applied way with an eye on skilled training. Innovation in education – it’s something we must do to ensure a prosperous future for our great state.

Catch my commentary on this subject also on Texas Business Radio https://texasbusinessradio.com and these stations:

  • KPRC AM950 Houston – 6PM Saturdays
  • NewsRadio KLBJ, 590AM and 99.7FM – 6AM Central Sundays
  • News Radio 1200 WOAI San Antonio – 10AM Central Sundays
  • NewsRadio 740 KTRH Houston – 11AM Central Sundays
  • NewsRadio 1080 KRLD Dallas / Fort Worth – 8PM Central Sundays
  • iHeartRadio – 6PM Saturdays KPRC, 10AM Sundays WOAI, 11AM Sundays KTRH
  • iTunes – On Demand
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