Austin Community College District (ACC) joins a group of colleges from across the state in an effort to develop programs that can skill up more Texans for high-demand careers.
The college was selected to participate in the Talent Strong Texas Pathways program — a $16 million, 5-year statewide economic mobility grant. It’s designed to bring colleges together to explore ways to develop more short-term workforce credential programs where students can gain skills quickly and continue to grow toward more advanced employment opportunities.
“We’re facing a workforce challenge here in Central Texas and across the state. As community colleges, we’re in a unique position to rethink higher education and develop programs and courses that can help more people gain the skills they need for high-demand and well-paying jobs,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Richard Rhodes. “We know it can work. A couple of years ago, ACC expanded its Fast Track Career Training programs, and since then, thousands of people have come here to skill up — quickly. We’re excited to share ideas with fellow colleges to see what more we can do.”
ACC was selected for the grant by the Texas Success Center, which looked at the college’s accomplishments, dedication to student success, and work to close equity gaps.
“Texas higher education has unique responsibilities and roles to play in what comes next, to expand opportunities for all Texans and ensure our economic competitiveness on a global scale,” says Harrison Keller, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “Now is the time to seize the vast, Texas-sized opportunities before us to achieve impact at scale and to dedicate ourselves to building a talent-strong Texas.”
The grant program includes three specific goals:
- Develop Talent Pathways: Help students reach their end goal of a good career by scaling clear talent pathways in key programs at every community college;
- Engage Education & Workforce Partnerships: Build labor market-responsive short-term credentials aligned within longer-term workforce and transfer program talent pathways to high-demand, high-wage, and valued careers; and
- Expand Comprehensive Student Supports: Including basic need support and a caring college culture that both nurtures students’ sense of belonging and aids all students’ academic achievement.
“Texas is very fortunate to have a set of funding partners willing to invest in the important work of the community colleges. We are very impressed by ACC’s commitment to design and implement talent pathways,” says Dr. Cynthia Ferrell, Vice President of the Texas Success Center. “We are excited to work with ACC as they continue to partner with local business and education leaders to provide valuable workforce and education opportunities.”
For more information regarding Talent Strong Texas Pathways, visit tacc.org/tsc.