Author Topic: Texas economy depends on more skilled workers who can adapt to new technologies  (Read 393 times)

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Online Elderberry

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Houston Chronicle by  Chris Tomlinson July 26, 2019

Texas, like the nation, has more job openings than unemployed people, and while that shows up in an impressively low unemployment rate, it’s a real problem for employers.

Companies are struggling to fill positions, with everyone from hotels in San Antonio complaining about a lack of maids to Houston oil companies desperately seeking data scientists. The shortage, however, is most acute in the so-called middle-skills positions, such as jobs in construction and manufacturing, often referred to as the trades.

The challenge for most of the 482,000 Texans looking for work is a lack of appropriate skills. Getting people trained would lift the economy for all of us.

Houston and San Antonio rely on middle-skill workers more than any major metropolitan area in the nation, according to the Labor Department. A third of jobs in both cities require only the equivalent of an associate degree. But most young Texans do not have even that.

A study that started tracking 8th graders in the Houston Independent School District in 2006 found that 18 percent have dropped out of high school, and 57 percent have not obtained any additional education since graduation. Only 22 percent of this cohort have attended college-level classes.

HISD students are sadly typical. Statewide, only 40 percent of workers have more than a high school education and 17 percent are dropouts.

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