Dear Friends and Fellow Employers,
I am proud to lead the Texas Association of Workforce Boards (TAWB), an association of 27 of 28 of the Texas local workforce development boards. Thanks to the efforts of the leadership preceding me, TAWB is and will remain dedicated to meeting the workforce development needs of Texas employers.
In the past few years, the Texas economy has substantially outperformed those of other states in jobs creation. As demonstrated by the recent recession, the Texas economy is more resilient, suffered less and recovered faster than those of other states. A recent report by the Texas Comptroller indicates that as of the summer of 2011, Texas has regained 82% of the jobs shed by employers during Texas' recession.
Our bright history notwithstanding, in the coming years Texas employers will face significant challenges in meeting their human capital needs. The abilities and skill sets needed by employers are changing, and as time marches on, the pace of that change increases exponentially. Our demographics are rapidly changing as well.
Keeping pace with these changes and competing globally, we will need a much greater investment and focus on properly educating and training our future workforce to enable them with the skills, abilities and knowledge needed by employers and on increasing the employer-desired skills of incumbent and dislocated workers. I believe that the integration of education (at all levels) and workforce development are essential to future economic growth and prosperity. I also believe that investments in workforce development, whether by government, public or private education, private business, or individual effort, are investments in economic development, rather than investments in social service programs.
I believe that achieving basic competencies in Grades K-8 should be a central focus for developing the state’s talent supply and that during the end of this period and afterwards, career pathways and career and technical education are critical components to successfully meeting the demand for talent while engaging interested students, setting the course for them to succeed and minimizing the alarming high school drop-out rates.
Today, there are many exciting and thoughtful collaborations underway to address the needs of Texas employers. We, the volunteer members of the business-driven boards, encourage all of our colleagues and fellow employers to engage in such efforts by partnering with workforce boards to leverage public-private investment in our businesses and workforce. I hope you will take a few minutes to look at some examples of these partnerships, which are showcased on our website under Employer Initiatives.
On behalf of our membership, I invite your input and participation as we continue to look for ways to best assist Texas employers with workforce needs.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Mark C. Guthrie