The state of Texas aims to equip 60% of 25 to 34-year-old Texans with a post-high school degree or accreditation by 2030.
Recent information from ReadyNation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the success of students, shows the need for schools to provide pathways for students to get into the workforce.
Business and education leaders gathered July 27 at The Genesis Group in Tyler to share the work being done locally to help students get involved in work-based learning.
Jim Nipp, president of The Genesis Group, said it’s important to give the area schools time and efforts because companies are the benefactors of students having work-based education.
The company partners with Tyler ISD and Whitehouse ISD on a variety of programs.
“I love coming to work because of the smart people and Tyler ISD and Whitehouse ISD are filled with smart people,” Nipp said.
Genesis hosts a group of kids to shadow employees and learn the different levels of the workforce. This event has been named Groundhog Day.
“They get a good picture of every part of the business,” he said.
The company also hosts an Advanced Placement Math class to give students a real-life problem and create solutions using their math skills.
“We give them a problem about increasing our productivity. ‘How many people do we need to hire? We have a project that takes this long.’ We give them all the variables and we let them whiteboard it out. During that meeting, they ultimately solve it with a linear equation and they get the answer. Those are meetings that we have here every day. So they get to see Algebra at work or math at work or those reasoning skills at work,” Nipp said.
Nipp added that Genesis invests heavily in Whitehouse ISD and Tyler ISD’s foundations to help create opportunities for students. The company has also sponsored a maker space at Whitehouse ISD.
“When we partner with education, I feel super proud,” Nipp said. “I think sometimes just a tour of a career often can sometimes light a spark in them.”
Whitehouse High School Principal Josh Garred said the school’s career technology education programs are fantastic because of the business partnerships with places like UT Health East Texas, Christus Trinity Mother Frances and Genesis.
“While we want every single kid to go to college, they’re not all going do that, but a lot of them can go straight into the workforce,” Garred said. “They are prepared because of these different partnerships.”
LaToya Young, executive director of the Tyler Area Business Education Council, said her goal is to have 60% of people ages 25 to 34 have a postsecondary education accreditation by 2025.
Every year, the TABEC hosts 70 business professionals at Tyler Junior College to mentor high school students on different career pathways and employment skills as well as teaching them about financial literacy, Young said.
Justin Yancy, Texas Business Leadership Council president, said work-based learning needs to continue to grow in the state as it is essential for Texas.
He shared the importance of youth apprenticeship programs, in which high school juniors and seniors partner with a company and work while finishing up their diploma. These programs help provide companies with a talent pipeline to train, build and retain employees.
Yancy said apprenticeships can work for any industry and it’s for students who have a good track record and are interested in learning.