WESLACO, Texas – The Texas Legislature needs to make the next legislative session the “workforce session.” 

This is the view of Daniel Silva, president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership (RGVP).

“By 2030, 62 percent of all Texas jobs will require a postsecondary credential – but Texas businesses are already struggling to find qualified workers,” Silva said.

Silva threw his weight behind the final recommendations of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance (TCCCF). The group has just released its draft report for the Legislature. 

“By enacting these (TCCCF) proposals to bolster community colleges into law, we can address the skilled workforce shortage, support our businesses, and ensure more Texans have the opportunity to earn a self-sustaining wage,” Silva said. 

“We need the Texas Legislature to act and make this session the Workforce Session.”

Silva said that if strategically implemented, legislation based on the final TCCCF recommendations would:

1. Ensure community colleges prioritize programs that meet their regional workforce needs

so that Texas businesses will have access to a regionally aligned skilled workforce

2. Ensure that every Texan has an equal opportunity to participate in our state’s prosperity

via equitable access to an affordable, high-quality education

3. Ensure that state funds are spent efficiently and effectively

4. Resolve the underlying structural flaws of our current community college finance system

RGVP is a member of the Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition, a network of over 40 partners comprising business leadership and education advocates spanning the entire state.

The Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition has announced its “strong support” of the final recommendations presented by TCCCF. The group described the final report’s eight recommendations as “bold.” 

If adopted by the Legislature, a community college’s funding would be more dependent on its students securing certificates and diplomas. The recommendations also including making community colleges more affordable for students. And the recommendations include providing one-time seed grants for college programs in high-demand fields. 

“As Texas faces a growing skilled workforce shortage with almost one million job openings unfilled as of July 2022, the recommendations offer a clear path forward for Texas’ workforce and overall economy,” the Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition stated.

“The final Texas Commission on Community College Finance recommendations showcase a bold vision for our state’s community colleges and are a win for students and businesses alike,” said Libby McCabe, senior policy advisor to the Commit Partnership and a leader of the Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition. 

“The Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition strongly supports these recommendations and encourages the Texas Legislature to expeditiously act on these proposals. Our students, workforce, and overall economy depend on it.”

McCabe pointed to the conclusion of the TCCCF report. It stated: “Ultimately, every additional dollar Texas invests in our community colleges can translate into greater opportunities across the state and a higher-performing state workforce that will draw new investment and jobs.” 

The Aim Hire Texas Policy Coalition news release added: “With Texas’ strong economic standing, recently reinforced by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s revenue estimate, the 88th legislative session presents an especially advantageous opportunity to strategically invest in community colleges to support Texas’ growing economy.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to read the full report from the Texas Commission on Community College Finance.

Editor’s Note: The above news story is the second in a two-part series on the recommendations of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance. Click here for Part One.

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