The oil and gas boom in Texas is putting growing pressure on an already expanding workforce shortage in the construction industry. The Texas Legislature passed several measures this session that should make it easier to grow the population of skilled tradespeople coming out of the secondary and post-secondary education system. Signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) in June, House Bill 5 was a major overhaul to the education system in Texas that gave students increased flexibility to pursue Career and Technical Education courses relevant to their chosen career path. The Governor has been a strong advocate for promoting career-ready skills learning – making it a key piece of his legislative agenda this year.
“We are improving workforce readiness and expanding and developing career and technical education courses to better guide students from the high school or college classroom into careers with the most job opportunities.”
Another bill signed into law this year created the Texas Fast Start Program. The newly created initiative will support Career and Technical Education programs that accelerate skill development in students and meet the state’s workforce needs in high-demand fields like construction. The programs will deliver post secondary credentials supported by industry that incorporate competency-based learning to maximize money, time and valuable classroom space.
The Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program is another major step forward in developing a highly skilled construction workforce in the Lone Star State. The program will provide select school districts, public institutions of higher education, and private or independent institutions of higher education with the opportunity to establish new and innovative programs that result in an industry-recognized credential or associates degree.
We here at WF_C believe that high school students should be afforded the opportunity to use their CTE credits towards an industry-recognized credential or associates degree. The Texas Legislature passed HB 842 to accomplish this goal.
Learn more about the bill here.
Check back with us as we follow the implementation of these programs and evaluate their success.