Sunday, September 26, 2021

Parker announces Reskilling & Upskilling initiative

State Senator Brandon Creighton (left) and Rep. Tan Parker look on as Carlyle Champion speaks about completing Austin Community College’s Fast Track Careers Program, and how the new TRUE Initiative will help others find careers like he did.

State Senator Brandon Creighton and Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, announced last week that they filed the Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Initiative, an investment in Texas community colleges and technical institutions to quickly reskill and upskill the Texas workforce and put Texans back to work in high-demand occupations.

“Texas is built upon the hard work of dedicated citizens who pour their knowledge, talent, and determination into the workforce every day. The TRUE initiative is an exciting opportunity to open new doors for Texans to develop or retool their skillset, leading to greater employment opportunities and brighter futures,” Parker said. “I am excited to offer this important legislation in the Texas House of Representatives and join with my colleague, Senator Brandon Creighton, and the extraordinary community colleges and business leaders who are invested in partnering together for the betterment of Texas’ students and a more vibrant workforce that will ensure Texas continues to be the leading state for business in the Nation.”

Left to Right: Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Carlyle Champion, Sen. Creighton, Rep. Parker and Dr. Brent Wallace (CEO of NCTC).

North Central Texas College CEO Dr. Brent Wallace was on hand in Austin for the announcement.

Of the record number of Texans who lost their jobs and filed initial claims for unemployment, many lack skills to quickly reenter the workforce, according to a news release from Parker’s office. The unemployment rate for individuals with a high school diploma or less remains significantly higher than for individuals with post-secondary credentials. As the current provider of more than 90% of credit-bearing career and technical education certificates, Texas community colleges are best positioned to close the skills gaps to good-paying jobs.

“Texas is a rapidly growing state, and our diverse economy requires a robust and prepared workforce to continue attracting investment and growth. The TRUE initiative will provide an edge to students seeking in-demand careers, and industry’s need for a 21st century workforce,” Creighton said. “The initiative was a unique collaboration and has attracted partners from all over the state.  I applaud everyone who worked on this bill, because TRUE will have a generational impact–and will serve as a model for the rest of the nation to create a pipeline for students, workers and industry.”

The initiative is guided by a new Business Advisory Council comprised of key business and industry leaders. TRUE will leverage existing local business partnerships to effectively scale and advance the work.

“It’s a simple concept: align industry needs with quality training programs that provide Texans with an efficient and effective path to in-demand skills for the 21st century,” said Justin Yancy, President of the Texas Business Leadership Council. “Having employers collaborate with the development of new industry-aligned credential programs is a recipe for success and will lead to a more prosperous economy.”

The proposal aims to develop new accelerated employment training programs and short-term credentials that lead to living-wage occupations. The TRUE initiative will strengthen the relationships between community colleges, business partners and philanthropy to ensure a well-prepared workforce for a stronger Texas economy.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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