Career and Workforce Readiness
TAM supports flexible yet rigorous pathways in K-12 public schools and higher education, recognizing there are many pathways to success. Texas’ education system must be aligned to prepare students to meet the diverse and evolving needs of employers. TAM supports strong career and technical education (CTE) in all Texas school districts, not only because CTE students graduate high school at higher rates, but because these programs play an integral role in introducing both careers and industries to students who might not be exposed to them otherwise. TAM supports a strong system of career, college, and military advising beginning in middle school, with a particular emphasis on “return on investment” and a recognition that many careers do not require a 4-year degree, which often is accompanied by crippling student loan debt. Students should receive college credit whenever possible for workforce education classes, including most industry-based certification programs.
TAM supports a strong accountability system for both public schools and institutions of higher education, with outcomes being paramount. TAM supports the “returned value funding formula” adopted by Texas State Technical College (TSTC), which pays the institution based on their graduates’ incomes, not contact hours in the classroom. That funding system rewards quality technical training, employability, and placement in a job, which is mutually beneficial to students, employers, and the state’s economy. And while TAM also supports the “success points initiative,” which pays community/junior colleges bonus funding for certain measurable outcomes, employers are eager to work with the Commission on Community College Finance to find workable solutions for better results. Texas’ institutions of higher education must do more to work with students, high schools, and other colleges to transfer and accept legitimate course credits, especially in the core curriculum.
TAM supports high-quality workforce training programs and funding that provide exceptional rate of return for the Texas economy — programs administered by the Texas Workforce Commission and local workforce boards including: the Skills Development Fund (SDF), Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Program, and learn-while-you-earn apprenticeships. Finally, TAM supports an education and workforce training system that encourages and enables local and regional employer engagement at every level of the pipeline — from middle school through college.