Letter from the President

 “Everything is bigger in Texas” certainly applies to our state’s economy. If Texas were a nation, it would rank as the 10th largest in the world.

Over the past decade, we have seen the state lead in both job creation and population growth. Today, over 13 million Texans account for the second largest workforce in the United States.

In order to meet growing and diverse employment needs, higher education programs must align with the current and future market demand. An expanding, skilled labor force not only benefits the economy, it also improves opportunities.

Bachelor’s degree holders experienced a 2.3 percent unemployment rate compared to almost 4 percent for Texans with some college, an associate degree or those without a high school diploma.

—Texas Workforce Report 2017-2018

In Texas, the vital need for high-skilled employees is projected to rise as the business and professional services sector expands. Moreover, population growth and an aging baby-boomer population are driving demand for service sector jobs, particularly in healthcare.

Today, job demand in the healthcare and social assistance industry dominates most of the state’s workforce development areas with anticipated growth up to 32 percent by 2024. Among all occupations, nurse practitioner jobs are expected to grow 25 percent over the next several years, the fastest growing occupation in Texas.

This issue of Heritage magazine highlights a number of healthcare programs and initiatives that span multiple SHSU colleges including the proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine. Our graduates in nursing, nutrition, mental health, music therapy and osteopathic medicine (to name a few) will work in healthcare fields that desperately need more qualified professionals.

We’ve come a long way since 1879 but our university’s mission remains the same—educating a diverse and highly-skilled workforce that meets the needs of Texas. This focus continues to benefit SHSU graduates and the many people of the Lone Star State.

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