Tyler, TX, July 27, 2020: Business leaders and education advocacy groups gathered together for a press event at The Genesis Group yesterday regarding the release of a ReadyNation brief, “Building Educational Pathways for a Strong Texas Future,” which highlighted the need for strong career pathways and Youth Apprenticeship Programs for Texas high school students.
ReadyNation is a national advocacy group comprised of 2,700 business leaders throughout the country.
Phil Burks, CEO of The Genesis Group kicked off the event at 3:00 p.m., introducing a number of individuals to speak on behalf of education efforts for East Texas.
Joe McMahan, Texas State Director for ReadyNation stated, “Texas expects to create 2.1 million new jobs. That was before COVID, so those numbers may change some. By 2030, our state aims to equip 60% of 25 to 34 year-olds with some sort of postsecondary education or some sort of credential. But the problem is today only 43.6% of that population really has some sort of credential.” McMahan also referred to local strong pathway programs. “It exposes them to careers and industries that maybe they would have never thought about before. So it provides a lot of great opportunities.”
“Texas expects to create 2.1 million new jobs. That was before COVID, so those numbers may change some. By 2030, our state aims to equip 60% of 25 to 34 year-olds with some sort of postsecondary education or some sort of credential.”
— Joe McMahan, ReadyNation
Jim Nipp, President of The Genesis Group described their efforts to connect with students through their job shadowing program and shared an example of a time when they hosted an AP math class to show real-world use of the lessons learned in school.
“We give them a problem about increasing our productivity. ‘How many people do we need to hire? We have a project that takes this long.’ We give them all the variables and we let them whiteboard it out. During that meeting, they ultimately solve it with a linear equation and they get the answer. Those are meetings that we have here every day. So they get to see Algebra at work or math at work or those reasoning skills at work,” said Nipp.
Josh Garred, principal of Whitehouse High School, talked about WISD’s efforts, including its CTE program, “While we want every single kid to go to college, they’re not all going do that, but a lot of them can go straight into the workforce. They are prepared because of these different partnerships.”
LaToya Young, Executive Director of the Tyler Area Business Education Council, explained how they were working to meet and beat the statewide education goal.
“Joe mentioned the statewide goal of 60×30 – 60% of Texas residents will have a (post-secondary) credential by 2030. Well, if you live in the Tyler area, you know that we’re overachievers.”
Smith County’s goal is to reach the same percentage of post-secondary credentials by 2025, five years earlier than the national goal.
Justin Yancy, President of the Texas Business Leadership Council, a statewide network of CEOs and executives working to build a more “globally competitive Texas,” finished out the event describing several statewide initiatives, including youth apprenticeship, a program in which students work at a company part-time during their junior and senior year of high school while earning their high school diploma.
“This is based on a Swiss model,” Yancy added.
Yancy also touched on the pandemic and “its short-term effect” on the economy and educational initiatives.
“I hope we all agree in this room, that there’s zero doubt, that the country will become stronger for the challenges we’re facing now,” said Yancy.
The “Building Educational Pathways for a Strong Texas Future” full article and brief can be found at strongnation.org.
Joe McMahan — Texas State Director, ReadyNation