Accelerate Texas Week salutes efforts to help adult learners

Accelerate Texas Week salutes efforts to help adult learners

Sat Jan 2, 2016
Eight students recently completed Brazosport College’s Summer Accelerate Texas (ATX) Jumpstart program. Students completing the training were Sonia Flores, Myranda Jones, Juana Patlan, Jorge Ramos, Levi Riley, Jessica Snyder, Guadalupe Tamayo and Timothy Williams. Registration for the Spring semester ATX Jumpstart program begins Dec. 1.

Brazosport College is one of more than 20 community colleges and college districts across Texas that will celebrate Accelerate Texas Week from Nov. 6-12 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.

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. 

Follow the week on Twitter with #AccelerateTX.