Press Release: New Statewide Workforce Initiative Seeks to Support Innovation in Developing Texas Talent

IMMEDIATE RELEASE:           
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New Statewide Workforce Initiative Seeks to Support
Innovation in Developing Texas Talent
Aim Hire Texas focuses on preparing all Texans for changing workforce needs

[DALLAS, TEXAS, October 28, 2020] A new statewide workforce initiative, Aim Hire Texas, will help close gaps preventing many Texans from finding good, high-paying jobs that Texas employers seek to fill, thereby equitably expanding economic opportunities both today and for future generations, organizers announced Wednesday.

The effort is a collaboration between Texas 2036 — a data-driven nonprofit working to ensure that Texas remains the best place to live and work through its bicentennial and beyond — and the Commit Partnership, which will co-chair the effort and help facilitate policy advocacy and the implementation of effective education and workforce data-driven practices. They are joined by a diverse group of founding partners including the Dallas Regional Chamber, Greater Houston Partnership, Texas Association of Community Colleges, Texas Rural Funders and United Ways of Texas.

Aim Hire Texas (AHT) will create a statewide hub of private data and analysis, leveraging Texas 2036’s existing resources and analytics to maintain a near-real-time analysis of the state’s workforce. It also will work with public- and private-sector officials to share and promote emerging and proven strategies for workforce development, serving as a clearinghouse for information, policy ideas and leadership.

This initiative recognizes that state agencies and educators want to connect with private employers more than ever before. A key priority of Aim Hire Texas will be to identify areas where jobs are open because existing training and education programs need to revise their focus, expand their outreach, or scale up to meet the demand of high-growth fields. With effective recruiting and training, Texas can support a shift in workforce development priorities to produce the skilled workers that Texas employers need.

Aim Hire Texas will seek to support and expand programs that provide skills training from both traditional and new public and private sources, ensuring that Texans who need a 21st century job can find one, and employers can access a growing talent pool to meet their needs.

“Education is among the most important functions this state serves,” said Texas 2036 President and CEO Margaret Spellings, the former U.S. Secretary of Education. “But too little thought and research have gone into whether future generations of Texans will be able to find a job, or whether Texas employers will be able to find home-grown talent in the Lone Star State. Aim Hire Texas was created based on the premise that every Texan should have the opportunity to contribute to our economy, and to do that, Texans need to know what skills the marketplace wants and be connected with Texas employers who want to hire them.”

By working to strengthen the links between education and in-demand career skills and help inform state policy to accelerate this connectivity, Aim Hire Texas will help supply all Texans, regardless of income, race or place, with a fair opportunity for achieving good, living wage jobs, noted Todd Williams, CEO of the Commit Partnership. “As we’ve frequently advocated, data often represents the voice of marginalized Texans who aren’t adequately heard or represented. Their voice is critical in determining what we as a state prioritize in terms of improving workforce development.  Because we deeply believe that all Texans should participate in our prosperity, this coalition’s work is essential to the future of our increasingly diverse state.”

“Statewide workforce initiatives like Aim Hire Texas provide the data that students, educators and businesses need to equip Texans with skills that will help them all succeed in a rapidly changing economy,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, Chancellor of the San Jacinto College District and Chair of the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

“By helping the state turn its workforce into a strategic asset, Aim Hire Texas will spur economic growth,” said Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber. “This work is long overdue. It will help underemployed Texans move into higher-paying jobs, create a more highly skilled workforce to fuel growing businesses, and attract more employers to Texas.”

Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, President and CEO at the United Ways of Texas, noted that beyond boosting the state’s economy, Aim Hire Texas can help workers weather future economic downturns by increasing their skills and salaries. “A good job does more than add to someone’s quality of life — it provides stability for themselves and their families,” Rojas said. “In this, what’s good for individual Texans is good for the entire state and its economy.”

And it’s not just residents of Texas’s major metropolitan areas who will benefit. Ellen Ray, Chair of Texas Rural Funders and Executive Director of the Still Water Foundation, said efforts like Aim Hire Texas can connect rural residents with opportunities across the state and in their communities. “Rural communities are vital to Texas' economic health, and the rural education-to-workforce pipeline is a critical part of Texas’ workforce conversation,” Ray said.

“Talent is a strategic economic asset for Texas. The better we do to prepare workers with the skills that the 21st century demands, the stronger our economy will be,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO at the Greater Houston Partnership. “That process of building skills begins before someone enters kindergarten, and it never really ends. Aim Hire Texas will help ensure Texas’ pipeline of creativity, innovation, hard work and talent remains our most competitive asset.”

Aim Hire Texas would like to acknowledge the significant early support it has received from JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America. All contributions are tax-deductible. To inquire about opportunities, contact info@aimhiretexas.org.

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About Aim Hire Texas
Aim Hire Texas (AHT) is a statewide consortium of advocates, employers, non-profit organizations, and education and training providers working to improve the Texas workforce system for the benefit of all Texans and their employers. An initiative of Texas 2036 and co-chaired with the Commit Partnership, AHT seeks to align our state’s education system and skills development programs with the urgent and future needs of Texas employers, expanding opportunity for Texans from all backgrounds and enhancing talent as a strategic asset for the continued growth of the Texas economy. For more information, visit www.AimHireTexas.org.

About Texas 2036
Texas 2036 is a nonprofit organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas' prosperity through our state’s bicentennial and beyond. We offer non-partisan ideas and modern solutions that are grounded in research and data on issues that matter most to all Texans. For more information, visit www.texas2036.org.

About the Commit Partnership
The Commit Partnership is a community navigator and connector, working to ensure that all North Texas students receive an excellent and equitable education that prepares them to flourish in college and their careers. For more information, visit https://commitpartnership.org.

About the Dallas Regional Chamber
The Dallas Regional Chamber is one of the most established business organizations in the nation and serves as the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make Dallas the best place in the United States for all people to live, work, and do business. For more information, please visit www.dallaschamber.org.

About Greater Houston Partnership
The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,100 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at www.Houston.org.

About Texas Association of Community Colleges
Texas Association of Community Colleges works with the Texas Legislature to promote policies that improve student education across public community college member districts. Although much of that work takes place during the Texas Legislative session every two years, building relationships with legislators is a continual process. Throughout the year, we educate decision-makers and influencers about needs of community colleges and opportunities to give Texas students the best chance for academic success. To learn more, visit https://tacc.org.

About Texas Rural Funders
The future of Texas depends on strong, successful rural communities. TRF's diverse network of funders brings attention and resources to rural Texas, leverages local assets for success, and addresses systemic challenges for impact no single organization could achieve alone. Texas Rural Funders is dedicated to working with rural communities to amplify opportunities and rural voices. We strive to honor, strengthen, and preserve rural communities because when they succeed, Texas as a whole succeeds. For more information, visit www.texasruralfunders.org.

About United Ways of Texas
United Ways of Texas is the statewide membership association representing nearly 70 local, independent United Ways across the state. United Ways of Texas drives systemic change through policy advocacy on behalf of and in collaboration with our network of local United Ways. Our network represents Texans coming together the United Way: local communities partnering to meet their local challenges. For more information, visit https://www.uwtexas.org.

Media Contacts

Merrill Davis, Director of Communications, Texas 2036
Ph: 713-213-7297
Email: merrill.davis@texas2036.org

Rob Shearer, Senior Director of Communications, The Commit Partnership
Ph: 214-882-5787
Email: rob.shearer@commitpartnership.org

Scott Goldstein, Senior Vice President of Communications & Events, Dallas Regional Chamber
Ph: 214-746-6681
Email: sgoldstein@dallaschamber.org

Maggie Martin, Senior Manager, Communications, Greater Houston Partnership
Ph: 832-690-0206
Email: mmartin@houston.org

Ellie Rodriguez, Communications Associate, Texas Association of Community Colleges
Ph: 512-476-2572, ext. 201
Email: erodriguez@tacc.org

Ann Marie Nafziger, Network Coordinator, Texas Rural Funders
Email: annmarie@texasruralfunders.org

Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, CEO and President, United Ways of Texas
Ph: 512-651-1149
Email: adrianna.cuellar@uwtexas.org