The Texas Workforce Investment Council exists to assist the Governor and the Legislature with strategic planning for and evaluation of the Texas workforce system, which is composed of eight state agencies and their local program providers.
The commission, led by our friend, Wes Jurey has authored a revolutionary Strategic Plan that seeks to improve access to certification-level vocational training. Most Texans might be surprised to learn that current law restricts Trade Schools from operating within major Community College Districts. This law resulted in vocational technical training being absorbed into the local the community college. This only created more friction for those who simply want to obtain the training necessary to begin a middle-skill “blue collar” career but don’t want to go to college.
According to USA Today, 2017 saw “an estimated 2.5 million new, middle-skill jobs…added to the workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth.” It is estimated that over the next two decades, nearly two million skilled trade jobs will go unfilled! Texas is working toward a solution to this growing labor gap. However, most people don’t realize that these blue-collar jobs offer earning potentials in the six-figure range along with much higher levels of job security.
One way that the state of Texas is reforming this process—that will benefit the poor in particular—is by taking vocational training into state prisons and partnering with local program providers like BridgeBuilders. In our case, the plan would include offering classes at BridgeBuilders to become a “Certified Logistics Technician.” These classes would be taught by instructors from the local Dallas Community College. This practical instruction coupled with our highly effective “Life Skills” instruction will better positon our clients to permanently break the cycle of poverty.
At present, there are over 16,000 unduplicated job openings in logistics with an average annual wage of $57,000 just in Dallas county! We believe these opportunities will attract additional thousands to our WORK program where they will not only discover a path to economic self-sufficiency but more importantly, they will see and learn of the hope to be found in Christ!