Gov. Abbott supports community college training to strengthen Texas economy

Governor Abbott is right on! In his State of the State Address last week, he acknowledged that embracing innovation is key to securing the future economic growth of Texas. Governor Abbott recognizes that having a pipeline of skilled workers is the driving force behind continued economic success and keeping Texas as the number one state in the nation for new job creation, business expansion, and exports.

As president of Texarkana College, I want to thank Governor Abbott for his bold stance during this current legislative session to reward community colleges for preparing Texans for a productive future. Inside community college classrooms and labs, students quickly gain skills that lead to high-demand jobs in healthcare, manufacturing and industrial trades, and technology-based careers. Within two years or less, students can master skills and gain credentials to prepare them for rewarding, high-paying careers that support the workforce demands of employers within our communities.

When I heard about Governor Abbott's visit to Odessa College and his experience there in observing the success of students who recently graduated from technical programs, it gave me hope that community colleges are gaining ground with a new funding model that provides greater opportunities for students in mid-sized and rural communities like ours. Businesses in Texas, both large and small, will benefit from the Governor's support of community colleges and the increase of skilled workers available for hire.

I invite you to come see for yourself- stop by our campus and take a tour of our workforce training centers. Last week, we opened the McCulloch Industrial Technology Center where skills in electrical technology and HVAC will be taught to students who will easily step into jobs earning close to $30 per hour after completing their credential. You will be surprised to learn that a lot of the training equipment students use to master their craft is provided by area employers to ensure the training is relevant and competitive. Within our automotive programs, both Ford Motor Company and Toyota have provided factory-backed curriculum to our instructors to grow a regional skilled workforce in the latest technologies.

My mantra is, "Community College is for Everyone!" You might wonder what I mean by that statement, and you may even think that it doesn't apply to you. But please allow me to challenge you to think of a time when you needed an auto mechanic, or a nurse, or a skilled and responsive air-conditioning technician on a steamy-hot Texas day. Every single day, every one of us rely on the skills of trained individuals to help us through situations we cannot navigate on our own. And as technology advances in the world today, it is even more important that the workforce of tomorrow is leading the way toward greater innovation within our state's businesses and industries.

The Governor's support of community colleges is a win for us all. Thank you, Governor Abbott, for advocating on our behalf!

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