TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel Testifies on How Community College Innovation Can Address the Middle Skills Gap

Date: November 18, 2021

Media Contact: James Bernsen
Phone: 512-463-8556

“There’s a Creative and Cost Effective Way to Move Texans
to Where There’s Already a Surplus of Jobs

AUSTIN Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Bryan Daniel testified this week before the Texas Commission on Community College Finance on the benefits of providing Texans with options for short-term credentials. Daniel pointed to several innovative ways Community Colleges can play a key role in assisting over 1 million, hard-working Texans develop the middle skills — defined as more than a high school diploma or equivalency but less than a four-year degree — that will put them on a path of success for in demand careers.

Created by SB 1230 (87th Legislature) authored by Senator Larry Taylor, the Texas Commission on Community College Finance will make recommendations on a state funding formula to sustain viable community college education and training offerings throughout the state. The commission is examining trends, seeking stakeholder input, and accounting for equity in student outcomes with a particular focus on students who are underrepresented in higher education, such as lower income families.

Community colleges prepare the future workforce to enter into the job market and economy, playing a critical role in developing the Texas labor force with high-demand skills needed in the state. Chairman Daniel advised lawmakers in Monday’s hearing to consider the workforce needs of a performing economy.

Today, an estimated 54 percent of jobs in Texas are considered middle skilled level, defined as workers with some education beyond high school but less than a four-year degree, yet only 45% of Texans have those credentials. The middle skills gap manifests itself in service delays in industries like plumbing, mechanics, electrical and others. Employers in these fields pay competitive wages but lack applicants with skills needed to make a hire.

“There’s an opportunity here for some 1.4 million Texans to improve their position by receiving some sort of post-secondary credentialing,” TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel said. “There’s going to have to be some innovative thinking that takes place. I believe apprenticeship programs, paid internships programs and other kinds of creative programs can supplement what the community colleges can and are willing to do to help us focus on this middle skilled gap and get it solved.”

Daniel continued, “The net result for me is always going to be how can I take any individual Texan in their current position and figure out the most efficient and cost effective way to get them higher on the wage line.”

This year, TWC committed to ending this gap between what employers need and the skills which the workforce possesses. The Commission has allocated over $18 million toward programs and trainings to create opportunities in middle skilled careers. These initiatives include a career pathways mobile application, career-coaching services, training and certifications for in-demand and targeted occupations, a mobile credential wallet, Jobs Y’all career exploration tool revitalization and more.

For more information on the Texas Commission on Community College Finance and efforts to support education to end the middle skills gap, visit https://tacc.org/tacc/commission-community-college-finance.

Full link to Monday’s testimony:https://tlcsenate.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=49&clip_id=16697

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

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