Press Release: Accelerate TEXAS Week salutes efforts to help adult learners succeed in college

Recruitment and recognition events happening Nov. 9-15

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AUSTIN, TX (Nov. 3, 2014) — More than 21 community colleges and college districts across Texas will celebrate Accelerate TEXAS Week November 9-15 in honor of the initiative that has helped more than 400 students earn a GED and more than 3,100 basic skills students earn a certificate or college credentials. Campuses will host various events that provide information to potential students and recognize outstanding program graduates.

Accelerate TEXAS programs integrate relevant basic skills content with workforce training programs, enabling students to gain entry into career pathways for high-demand jobs in industries including health care, manufacturing, construction, and transportation. The colleges also use real-time labor market data and other information to determine which credentials hold the most value for students.

Accelerate TEXAS addresses a critical workforce issue: At least 60 percent of Texas jobs will require a career certificate or college degree by 2020, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. This initiative is aimed at accelerating the skills of the estimated 44 percent of Texans over age 25 who have never been to college, let alone earned a credential. Of the students who earned a workforce credential through Accelerate TEXAS, 76 percent were employed or enrolled in college three to six months after program completion.

“We know that many adult learners in the state are not prepared to enter college and succeed,” said David Gardner, deputy commissioner for academic planning and policy for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The THECB funds Accelerate TEXAS and provides services at state community colleges in partnership with federally supported adult education and literacy programs funded by the Texas Workforce Commission. “The THECB and Accelerate TEXAS colleges are changing all that. We’re showing how integrating basic skills and workforce training can help adult learners earn credentials, and we hope that colleges throughout the state will follow suit.”

Collaboration among employers, workforce boards, adult education providers, and community-based organizations is also increasing as the colleges develop and implement integrated pathway programs. 

“Partnering with all these groups is crucial to meeting adult learners’ diverse needs,” said Gloria Cross Mwase of Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit that manages Accelerate TEXAS. “Texas is truly a national leader in bringing together critical stakeholders to help close achievement gaps and build a highly competitive state workforce.”

See this year's events, and follow the week on Twitter with #AccelerateTX for updates.

The participating colleges and college districts are (with contact info for Accelerate TEXAS Week events):

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Mission Statement

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board promotes access, affordability, quality, success, and cost efficiency in the state’s institutions of higher education, through Closing the Gaps and its successor plan, resulting in a globally competent workforce that positions Texas as an international leader in an increasingly complex world economy.
www.thecb.state.tx.us

Contact: Kelly Carper Polden, Assistant Director of Communications, 512.427.6119, kelly.polden@thecb.state.tx.us

About Jobs for the Future

JFF works with our partners to design and drive adoption of education and career pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for those struggling in today’s economy. JFF provides Accelerate TEXAS with technical assistance, and policy and communications support
www.jff.org

Contact: Erica Acevedo, Project Manager, 617.728.4446, eacevedo@jff.org

About the Public Policy Research Institute

Texas A&M University’s PPRI supports Accelerate TEXAS by providing statewide program evaluation.
ppri.tamu.edu