Most companies would agree that people are their best asset. After all, employees are the catalyst that propels business forward.
For that reason, finding, securing, and maintaining your workforce is critical to long-term business success.
Your workforce can mean the difference between low productivity compounded by high turnover or engaged employees who go the extra mile and are vested in your corporate mission. This is where your state and local partners come into play.
Is your company surrounded by a stellar educational system? Are state resources available to assist with customized training programs? Can you partner with area technical colleges for training or apprenticeship opportunities? Are your area schools turning out a fresh workforce equipped to hit the ground running?
When it comes to workforce investment, Texas communities deliver big — thanks to a multitude of educational systems, and robust state and local training programs.
It’s tough to dispute the power of the Texas workforce. With 13 million people, the Lone Star State is home to the nation’s second-largest pool of potential civilian employees. And this number is growing thanks to the daily arrival of new residents into the state.
Texas companies not only reap the rewards of the state’s expansive workforce, but they also score additional value through state workforce development and training efforts.
In fact, Texas’ 38 public universities, 50 community college districts, and top-notch school districts equip students — of all ages — with skills for current and future workplace demands while ensuring the state’s pipeline of talent is always full.
It is important to note that even the best employees require investment — professionally and personally. Employee development not only builds loyalty and nurtures a positive corporate culture but it keeps employees engaged, efficient, and productive, which will ultimately boost your company’s bottom line. And when it comes to investing in your workforce through ongoing training efforts, Texas is eager to help.
The Lone Star State has a solid track record of providing funds to help facilitate workforce training.
Additionally, a vast network of Workforce Solutions offices and boards, overseen by the Texas Workforce Commission, fosters an environment of communication and collaboration to address companies’ needs.
The state’s regional Workforce Solutions offices provide services which include employer and job seeker services, as well as childcare assistance. Employers can also explore how to develop customized training programs with assistance from the Skills Development Fund.
Heralded as the state’s premier job-training program, the Skills Development Fund fosters collaboration between businesses, public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards, and economic development partners to design and implement customized training programs.
In the past few months alone, Skills Development Fund grants have been awarded across Texas to help provide a broad range of specialized training related to supply chain management, plastic injection molding machinery, production inventory, hydraulics, machine tending, valve engineering, welding, pipefitting, machining, fabrication and manufacturing operations — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In the North Texas suburb of Midlothian, steel producer Gerdau was awarded a 2016 Skills Development Fund grant for customized training of 189 new and incumbent workers with focused instruction on hydraulics, electrical troubleshooting and motor controls, mechanical crane inspections, and bearings.
Gerdau partnered with nearby Texas State Technical College in Red Oak to train its master and maintenance mechanics, and mechanical, electrical and engineering technicians. Without a doubt, the Skills Development Fund is a powerful driver behind the state’s commitment to business.
Additionally, there is no shortage of scholarships and financial help offered at colleges across the state.
Notably, TSTC also offers a great scholarship opportunity for high school students from Midlothian. In partnership with local industry, Midlothian Economic Development provides funds to The TSTC Foundation’s Texan Success Scholarship. Graduates of MISD and residents of Midlothian are eligible for these $1,000 scholarships.
While there are plenty of workforce training resources available to Texas companies, workforce preparedness begins long before that. The state has placed a high priority on education that elevates the levels of undergraduate degrees, industry certifications, and other educational benchmarks through high-quality programs and curriculum.
With increasing frequency, students at the high school level are offered access to dual-credit courses, associate degrees, and industry certifications. This means students are graduating with academic, technical, and employability skills that translate into career readiness.
South of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, Midlothian ISD high school students can tap into comprehensive career and college planning through career and technology endorsements as well as with pre-AP, AP, and dual credit courses.
MISD also recently unveiled its new Midlothian Collegiate Scholars Academy (MCSA) which affords incoming ninth grade high school students accepted into the program the opportunity to graduate high school with an associate’s degree. The program allows selected students to earn roughly 60 dual credit hours through Midlothian’s Navarro College campus during their four years of high school.
MISD high schools also offer the following certifications through their career and technical education programs: emergency medical technician (EMT), certified nursing assistant (CNA), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), cosmetology operator’s license, welding level 1, and ServSafe.
Several of these certifications are available through MISD’s partnership with Navarro and there are plans to add additional certifications in coming years.
Other school systems in the area with innovative high school programs include STEM-based Global High School in Waxahachie and Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield ISD.
Neighboring city Burleson is also addressing the need for technical employees through its new program, “Burleson Works.” This program aims to fill the area’s technical skills gap in such fields as welding, engineering, software development, industrial maintenance, and more through partnerships with local and regional schools.
In the San Antonio metro, the Alamo Academies is providing area youth with tuition-free career pathways into critical demand technical STEM occupations.
The Alamo Academies is a national award-winning, innovative, STEM-based instructional model operated by the Alamo Area Academies Inc., a non-profit organization, in partnership with the Alamo Colleges, San Antonio area high schools, industry and the cities of San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Seguin.
San Antonio was one of the first communities in the country to address the “skills-gap” issue through a partnership between the Alamo Colleges, industry, and public schools by founding the Alamo Academies.
The examples above are evidence of Texas’ mission to mold a workforce that can meet the demands of an evolving world. By supporting a statewide educational mission that fuels post-secondary readiness, school-to-career opportunities, and ongoing employee training options for businesses, Texas continues to strengthen its pool of advanced talent.
As the global economy forges ahead into ever-changing territory, preparing, empowering and sustaining future and current employees is critical. Above all, Texas understands that the current and future labor force must be adaptable, efficient, solutions-oriented, and more.
A variety of rankings and corporate success stories consistently illustrate how Texas excels in pro-business thinking — especially when it comes to workforce development. After all, 2.4 million small businesses — which make up 98.6 percent of all Texas employers — can’t be wrong.
Show Your Support of Texas Technical Education
The TSTC Foundation’s Texan Success Scholarship is an “open fund” capable of receiving additional contributions from any person or organization. Industry partners are encouraged to contribute to the fund to help local students advance their education and increase the community’s pipeline of skilled workforce.