A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Texas Comptroller Pushes for More Job Training Programs

Texas has to grapple with an ever-changing job landscape in ways that its leadership has not previously considered, State Comptroller Susan Combs said in a new report titled Workforce – Capitalizing on our Human Assets.  “Before the skills gap gets to a breaking point, it is important that we realize today’s best jobs require ever-increasing levels of specialized knowledge and technical expertise,” Combs said.

The retiring comptroller, who opted not to seek reelection, says lawmakers need to tackle several issues including increased funding for adult education programs, multimedia information campaigns to promote industry-based certification, and economic incentives for companies to create apprenticeship programs.

In her report, Combs said that “unskilled” jobs are becoming a thing of the past, and the workers of today need to be able to be adaptable to the point that they are lifelong learners.

The report also urges the state to make more money available for programs in order to streamline the process to reduce waiting lists for training programs.  Right now, an estimated 26,000 to 42,000 or so Texans are waiting to get into adult education programs.  State funding for adult education in 2010 was $4.83 per capita in Texas, compared with $106.27 in California.  That’s for adults with no high school diploma.

The demographics of the state are changing in ways that impact the workforce head-on.

For example, Texas’s under-18 population grew by about 17 percent in the decade between 2000 and 2010.  That’s a whopping 6.5 times the national rate.  The Combs report said that the shift to a largely younger workforce is very helpful in dealing with the wave of baby boomer retirements on the horizon, but it also means education and job training programs for those younger worker workers will be that much more critical.

You can watch a 2-minute video about the report from the Comptroller’s office below.

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