Published or Revised April 05, 2017
Texas Workforce Solutions Chairman Andres Alcantar, center, was the lead speaker at the 60x30TX event held in Texarkana recently. Shown with him, from left, are Northeast Texas Community College President Dr. Brad Johnson, PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, Texarkana College President James Henry Russell, and Randy Reed, Executive Director of Northeast Texas Workforce Solutions.
Paris Junior College representatives were among the more than 260 regional business, education and industry leaders gathered on March 23 at Texarkana College to hear about the bold higher education strategic plan, 60x30TX, set forth by Governor Greg Abbott to build and sustain a skilled workforce for Texas.
“The bottom line,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, “is that by 2030 we have to have at least 60 percent of our 25- to 34-year-olds with a certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree in order to have the workforce that we need to maintain the economy of the state of Texas. Currently the state is at 38 percent. This region of the state is much, much lower. We’re at less than 20 percent in these nine counties all along the Red River.”
Alcantar said that the Texas economy is thriving and very diversified, and training programs that can quickly respond to business and industry growth are central to sustaining the state’s economic future.
“To actually meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce in Texas, we need to reach the goal even sooner than 2030,” Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar said. “There are more jobs available here in Texas than available skilled workforce, and we must help steer our young people toward employment and brighter futures.
“Community colleges are key partners in attaining 60x30TX because of their nimble ability in responding to workforce training needs. In the past decade, less than one percent of jobs created did not require some type of post-secondary education credential. This means that students who earn at a minimum some type of technical certification will be more likely to land a job than people who hold only a high school diploma. It’s not just about ‘going’ to college anymore; it’s about completing a practical program that leads to marketable skills.”
Paris Junior College and Northeast Texas Community College joined with Texarkana College and Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas to kick off the initiative in this region and help stakeholders learn how to participate.
There is a long way to go to reach the 60 percent goal by 2030, according to Dr. Anglin, but the region would see higher incomes, greater business opportunities, and strengthened resources.
“We’ve got to get our public schools, businesses, industry and communities to buy into it,” Anglin said. “A high school diploma is no longer adequate; students must have a higher level of workplace skills than in the past. That doesn’t always mean a bachelor’s degree. It is going to take everyone working together to make this happen and our future and the economic future and viability of this region depends on us increasing the educational attainment level of our population.”
Alcantar also took the opportunity to rally students and encourage them to stay in school.
“Take every advantage of leadership opportunities to increase your marketability in the workforce,” Alcantar said. “The skills you learn today will serve you well into your future and will set you apart for advancement opportunities. Help others see their potential, too. It will pay off in the end.”
On April 25, 2017, residents of our region are urged to play a part in spreading the word about the importance of earning a college credential. A college credential includes completion of post-secondary coursework leading to a workforce certificate or degree from a community college or four-year institution. There are several ways to participate in 60x30TX day:
For more information or to request a speaker, call the PJC Office of the President at 903-782-0330.