HCC Chancellor encourages lawmakers to continue TRUE funding for community college workforce training
Aug 17, 2022
Houston Community College System (HCC) Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., testified before the Texas House of Representatives in Austin last week that continued funding through the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) Initiative is needed to address persistent workforce shortfalls in the state.
Maldonado spoke before the House Committee on Higher Education on the success of Texas SB1102 that last year established the TRUE Initiative that has been helping community and junior colleges across the state provide vital workforce education.
Colleges like HCC have used grants under the initiative to create, redesign and expand workforce training that leads to industry certifications or other workforce credentials for those entering high-demand occupations, Maldonado said.
This includes training in fields such as construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas that continue to experience marked increases in jobs. In fact, from July 2021 to June 2022, almost 1.2 million jobs were posted in Texas for roles that require more than a high school education but less than a four-year degree. Many of those jobs have gone unfilled due to workers without required skills.
“Community colleges are the primary trainers of students seeking these job opportunities,”
the HCC chancellor said. “Filling these job vacancies is necessary for the state’s continuing economic vitality.”
Already, the initiative has allowed HCC to increase its capacity and provided new and expanded programs, Maldonado said. The college has increased its capacity by 175 students in its cybersecurity program for a potential economic impact of $1.5 million in the state. TRUE funds have also been used to increase participation in HCC’s commercial truck driving program with 120 seats added, and in its construction program with 75 new seats.
“We believe the state should continue to invest in the TRUE initiative, and we ask you to strongly consider making it part of the standing funding formula for community colleges,” Maldonado said. “It will allow additional capacity to serve emerging industry needs and help Texas maintain is reputation as a leading economic engine.”