Texas state rep. looks to improve partnerships between community colleges, workforce

Results from Friday’s meeting will be shared during the 2023 legislative session in Texas.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 4:10 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) - Discussions are underway in Texarkana to improve the workforce in smaller communities around the State of Texas. Some say the answer lies with partnerships between community colleges and high schools.

“If they come out of high school with a credential, then they have a leg up on other students,” said Texas State Representative Gary VanDeaver.

Some high school students from across the Texarkana area are attending classes on the campus of Texarkana Community College. These students are receiving dual credits, meaning when they finish high school, they will also have earned college hours. Many say this method of education is needed to supply the workforce needs in rural Texas.

“And they have these students coming out of high school, dual credit courses, reading to go into the workforce,” said Rep. VanDeaver.

Rep. VanDeaver met with local business and educational leaders Friday, Oct. 14 to discuss ways to improve the Texas workforce and dual credit opportunities provided by educational facilities like Texarkana Community College.

“A huge majority of our jobs today require something above a high school diploma. Not everything requires a four-year college degree, so workforce development is very important. They can come here and get credentials and certifications that can qualify them to high-paying jobs,” Rep. VanDeaver said.

Data shows 54% of jobs in Texas are considered middle skill, meaning they require a post-secondary credential beyond high school, but only 45% of Texans are sufficiently trained for these types of jobs.

“Community college is the key. I believe having our workforce development for what it needs to be, having these students trained and really meeting the needs of the community, keeping the economic engine running,” the representative said.

Results from Friday’s meeting will be shared during the 2023 legislative session in Texas.