It is no secret that North Texas is home to one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the nation.
In fact, from 2017 to 2018, Census Bureau figures revealed that the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex added 132,000 residents — a 1.8 percent increase. Additionally, over the past eight years, it has added more than 1 million people, making it the fourth-largest metro area.
A well-traveled path to Texas has welcomed businesses and residents seeking Lone Star advantages including affordable housing, rich quality of life, no corporate or personal income tax, efficient infrastructure, stellar school systems, southern warmth, and more.
With all this growth, a booming population of energetic, skilled, and globally diverse Texans have bloomed into the nation’s second-largest civilian workforce of 13 million. It is no small task keeping this sizable pool of potential employees trained — especially when it comes to technical skills, but Texas has proven time and again it is up for the task.
With an abundance of aviation, automotive, and manufacturing companies in North Texas, workforce training is a top concern, especially given the evolving nature of these industries and the increasing voids left by an aging workforce.
At the state level, Texas has been proactive in providing workforce training solutions, thanks in large part to the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Skills Development Fund. Through this fund, a business or consortium of businesses can partner with TWC and a public community or technical college to develop a customized workforce training program.
Through its vast network of 38 public universities and upper-division centers, and 50 community college districts, Texas continues to ensure that a pipeline of talent is in place for the state’s current and future workforce needs.
Driving Aerospace and Automotive Upward
Aerospace facilities in North Texas include the headquarters of two major airlines, and operations of iconic aircraft manufacturers including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Bell Helicopter. Other regional aerospace companies include Triumph Aerostructures-Vought Aircraft Division, New York-based defense contractor L3 Technologies, and PCC Aerostructures — Progressive.
According to the "North Texas Aerospace and Aviation Talent Pipeline Study 2017," Lockheed Martin has leveraged TWC Skills Development Fund grants to partner with both Tarrant County College (TCC) and Texas State Technical College (TSTC) on aeronautics pipeline programs. Additionally, Bell Helicopter has also collaborated with TCC and TSTC as well as West Texas A&M and Amarillo College to develop and deliver training.
State funds have also been utilized within the North Texas automotive industry in recent years. In 2015, the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington — which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014 — partnered with TCC through a Skills Development Fund grant to implement a program to train more than 500 workers in hydraulics and pneumatics, welding, carpentry maintenance, project management, and more. Those trained included electricians, stationary engineers, toolmakers, millwrights, and industrial engineers.
The above examples offer just a small sampling of ways the Skills Development Fund has helped provide critical upgrades in specific skill sets.