The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and Governor’s Office project the job market in Texas will change substantially in the next few years. Their predictions are supported by information from federal government agencies tracking and projecting job growth in a global economy for the United States as a whole. Available information and conclusions based on this information include:
Texas will find it difficult to compete with developing countries to produced lowest cost products due to labor cost. The goal of the Texas school system should be teaching innovation to conceptualize, design, and bring to market the next wave of consumer products. Innovation is the key to placing Texas at the forefront in a global economy.
- Only approximately 18% of high school graduates in Texas are properly prepared for higher education. Improvements in the secondary education and post secondary education systems are essential for success as a state.
- Projected shortages include nurses, engineers, teachers (especially science), pharmacist, and technological jobs in Texas. For the Texas economy to grow as desired, there is a need to increase the labor pool in areas required to attract and hold new industry. Degrees in science, math, engineering, and technology are especially desirable.
- Basic message – for the state to move forward, state resources should be focused to produce the required types of degrees.
- There is a need for university degree programs to reflect industry requirements for future growth.
- The state should support degree programs meeting the future economic needs of the state in engineering, science, math, and technology.
- Higher education should place an emphasis in developing and supporting research with the promise of creating new industries in fields such as solar power, wind power, and other emerging energy technologies.
- Texas is falling behind in the required number of high school, college, and university graduates required too sustain high tech industry. An increased pool of individuals at all levels to support and attract high tech industry is essential.
- The ratio of college and university degrees to total state population in Texas is amongst the lowest in the nation. This decline must be reversed.
In general, the economic message from all levels of government and industry is Texas and its population need to change their focus to be successful in an increasingly global market place.