The Issue... Workforce Development
Legislation supported by NFIB/TX passed in previous sessions that created new opportunities for children in schools to choose which path they’d like to take — the traditional route leading them toward college readiness or the non-traditional route leading toward entering the workforce immediately upon high school graduation by making new workforce development and career training courses available to them. Once again, NFIB/Texas advocated for more skills training in schools and supported the major education bill of last session, HB 18, which established college and career readiness training academies for counselors in public schools: middle, junior high and high schools.
The Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Texas at Austin will develop the academies and solicit input from the Texas Education Agency, school counselors, the Texas Workforce Commission, institutions of higher education, business, community, and school leaders. This bill includes a measure that adds a 7th or 8th grade semester course on career and college readiness to explore graduation plans and college and career choices (all students must pick an endorsement upon entering 9th grade).
In another bill, the continuation of the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program was supported by legislators again this session. It fills a need in workforce education at the state’s two-year institutions. The program enables educators to create courses that meet the needs of employers in their region, quickly and efficiently. Another bill supported by NFIB/Texas that passed was one that allows military personnel to obtain certification to teach career and technology education (CTE) classes in public schools, even if they have no specific occupational licensure. Now, more classes in this field will be available to students interested in following the career and technology path.