Making the leap from decades in education administration to a new career in construction management took more than faith for Norma, an Edinburg resident and married mother of three.

It also took perseverance, hard work, and successful completion of a construction superintendent apprenticeship program offered through the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), South Texas College, and a local commercial construction trade association.  

While more Texans are working than ever before, I am working nonstop to expand economic opportunities for hardworking Texans like Norma so they can advance further in high-demand careers. Meeting the changing needs of Texas businesses by providing a continuing pipeline of workers with the necessary skills is also paramount to ensure ongoing job growth in the Rio Grande Valley and across the state. That is why the State of Texas invests heavily in a range of workforce development and skills training programs, with an average of 4.5 million Texans participating annually. 

Registered apprenticeships like those offered at South Texas College provide industry-driven, customized training that empowers Texas employers to fill any skills gaps in their markets while developing their own future workforce. Apprentices expand their skills through paid on-the-job training, classroom instruction, and mentorship while earning industry-recognized credentials in fields ranging from construction and manufacturing to healthcare, information security, and more. 

Registered apprenticeships are typically partnerships between employers, local education agencies, local workforce development boards, and apprenticeship committees. TWC provides state funds to the local education agencies and apprenticeship committees to support a portion of the costs for the job-related classroom instruction in registered apprenticeship programs. 

More than 21,500 active participants in Texas are currently enrolled in over 650 registered apprenticeship programs, which boast an apprentice completion rate of over 80 percent. Employers investing in apprenticeship programs experience improved recruitment and reduced turnover, and they gain a pipeline of skilled employees and future managers. Texas continues to create, expand, and support registered apprenticeship programs across the state and in a wide variety of industries to keep up with the diverse workforce demands of our growing state.

For Texas employers interested in growing a skilled workforce, I encourage you to attend TWC’s Apprenticeship Texas Conference in McAllen on September 22-23, 2022. You can learn the why and how of registered apprenticeship programs from a variety of stakeholders, including employers, apprentices, workforce boards, and college representatives. 

The construction superintendent apprenticeship program at South Texas College was supported with apprenticeship expansion grant funding from TWC. Other recent TWC workforce development grants to South Texas College include a nearly $200,000 IT Apprenticeship grant awarded in June, a $367,500 Skills for Small Business grant awarded in February, and nearly $900,000 in Skills Development Fund awards in the past two years to upskill workers for area businesses. And earlier this year, I was proud to award a Texas Talent Connection grant of more than $254,000 to South Texas College to fund a maintenance and repair program for automated technologies. 

While jobs are booming in Texas today, it is employers who hold the key to filling any skills gaps in their workforce for tomorrow. The State of Texas, in partnership with TWC, offers a comprehensive toolbox of customized skills development programs, including the Registered Apprenticeships program, Skills Development Fund, Skills for Small Business, and more. Together, we are working to ensure endless opportunities for all Texans and continued success for businesses across the state.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Gov. Abbott whose office can be reached by phone: (512) 463-2000.

Editor’s Note: Here are TWC’s Apprenticeship Texas Conference event and registration details: https://www.twc.texas.gov/events#apprenticeshiptexasconference

Editor’s Note: For more information on apprenticeships and TWC services go to: https://www.twc.texas.gov


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