A new statewide workforce initiative, Aim Hire Texas, will help close gaps preventing many Texans from finding good, high-paying jobs that Texas employers seek to fill, thereby equitably expanding economic opportunities both today and for future generations, organizers announced this week.
The effort is a collaboration between Texas 2036 – a data-driven nonprofit working to ensure that Texas remains the best place to live and work through its bicentennial and beyond – and the Commit Partnership, which will co-chair the effort and help facilitate policy advocacy and the implementation of effective education and workforce data-driven practices. They are joined by a diverse group of founding partners including the Dallas Regional Chamber, Greater Houston Partnership, Texas Association of Community Colleges, Texas Rural Funders and United Ways of Texas.
Aim Hire Texas will create a statewide hub of private data and analysis, leveraging Texas 2036’s existing resources and analytics to maintain a near-real-time analysis of the state’s workforce. It also will work with public- and private-sector officials to share and promote emerging and proven strategies for workforce development, serving as a clearinghouse for information, policy ideas and leadership.
The initiative recognizes that state agencies and educators want to connect with private employers more than ever before. A key priority of Aim Hire Texas will be to identify areas where jobs are open because existing training and education programs need to revise their focus, expand their outreach or scale up to meet the demand of high-growth fields. With effective recruiting and training, Texas can support a shift in workforce development priorities to produce the skilled workers that Texas employers need.
Aim Hire Texas will seek to support and expand programs that provide skills training from both traditional and new public and private sources, ensuring that Texans who need a 21st century job can find one, and employers can access a growing talent pool to meet their needs.
“Education is among the most important functions this state serves,” said Texas 2036 president and CEO Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of Education. “But too little thought and research have gone into whether future generations of Texans will be able to find a job, or whether Texas employers will be able to find home-grown talent in the Lone Star State. Aim Hire Texas was created based on the premise that every Texan should have the opportunity to contribute to our economy, and to do that, Texans need to know what skills the marketplace wants and be connected with Texas employers who want to hire them.”
By working to strengthen the links between education and in-demand career skills and help inform state policy to accelerate this connectivity, Aim Hire Texas will help supply all Texans, regardless of income, race or place, with a fair opportunity for achieving good, living wage jobs, said Todd Williams, CEO of the Commit Partnership. “As we’ve frequently advocated, data often represents the voice of marginalized Texans who aren’t adequately heard or represented. Their voice is critical in determining what we as a state prioritize in terms of improving workforce development. Because we deeply believe that all Texans should participate in our prosperity, this coalition’s work is essential to the future of our increasingly diverse state.”
“Statewide workforce initiatives like Aim Hire Texas provide the data that students, educators and businesses need to equip Texans with skills that will help them all succeed in a rapidly changing economy,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of the San Jacinto College District and chair of the Texas Association of Community Colleges.
“By helping the state turn its workforce into a strategic asset, Aim Hire Texas will spur economic growth,” said Dale Petroskey, president and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “This work is long overdue. It will help underemployed Texans move into higher-paying jobs, create a more highly skilled workforce to fuel growing businesses, and attract more employers to Texas.”
Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, president and CEO at the United Ways of Texas, noted that beyond boosting the state’s economy, Aim Hire Texas can help workers weather future economic downturns by increasing their skills and salaries. “A good job does more than add to someone’s quality of life – it provides stability for themselves and their families,” she said. “In this, what’s good for individual Texans is good for the entire state and its economy.”
It’s not just residents of Texas’s major metropolitan areas who will benefit. Ellen Ray, chair of Texas Rural Funders and executive director of the Still Water Foundation, said efforts like Aim Hire Texas can connect rural residents with opportunities across the state and in their communities. “Rural communities are vital to Texas' economic health, and the rural education-to-workforce pipeline is a critical part of Texas’ workforce conversation,” Ray said.
“Talent is a strategic economic asset for Texas. The better we do to prepare workers with the skills that the 21st century demands, the stronger our economy will be,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO at the Greater Houston Partnership. “That process of building skills begins before someone enters kindergarten, and it never really ends. Aim Hire Texas will help ensure Texas’ pipeline of creativity, innovation, hard work and talent remains our most competitive asset.”
Aim Hire Texas acknowledges the significant early support it has received from JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America.
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