The 87th Texas Legislative session began in January this year, and North Central Texas College, along with the Texas Association of Community Colleges, is asking state lawmakers to support community colleges across the state to ensure affordable, high-quality academic and technical training programs are available for students.

NCTC, along with 49 other Texas community colleges, is jointly supporting two main legislative priorities, investing in community colleges (formula funding) and workforce and economic recovery policy.

Because of the goal of workforce and economic recovery, NCTC is proud to be a part of the Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education initiative, and specifically seeking statutory authority to create a state fund to support the program.

The pandemic disrupted the economy and widened the gap between employer workforce needs and skilled workers. NCTC is committed to addressing this gap.

To achieve this goal, the TRUE initiative will design sustainable talent pipelines to fill critical regional workforce needs and provide ongoing support to Texas businesses and the state’s economic recovery.

We will expand employer-informed micro-credentials and short-term certificates that will enable displaced and underemployed workers to lead fulfilling and economically self-sufficient lives by getting them work-ready in as little as a few weeks to six months.

The initiative will also identify high-demand, short-term credentials to be recognized as a part of the 60X30TX Plan for Higher Education.

While the unemployment rate continues to decline, it remained at 6.9% in February 2021, more than double the rate from a year earlier.

This is not just a problem for workers, but also for businesses struggling to hire. TRUE will connect community colleges with employers to highlight areas of future job growth and to provide high-quality training in high-demand career areas.

TACC estimates that with every $50 million investment, TRUE will help at least 30,000 Texans receive training in high-demand fields, and workers with associate or bachelor degrees earn, on average, more than $8,000 more per year than those with just high school diplomas. We believe this initiative will play a large role in economic recovery and strengthening the Texas workforce.

We are also asking our legislators to invest in community colleges. The Texas Association of Community Colleges adopted formula funding recommendations informed by the findings of the Community and Technical College Formula Advisory Committee. However, the CTCFAC concluded its work prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when expectations for the 87th Legislature were optimistic. Considering current circumstances, TACC recommends an increase in appropriation for core operations to support stabilization of college operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our first recommendation is for overall funding for FY 2022-2023 to equal the FY 2020-2021 funding level, or $1,833.2 million and give priority to the rate of $215 per Student Success Point and an increase in Core Operations to support college stabilization, providing for $2 million per college. Remaining funds would be allocated through the contact hour formula.

We also propose exceptional funding of $50 million, requested as $1 million non-formula support items at each of the 50 college districts, to support a new state workforce initiative.

All NCTC legislative priorities and a list of Texas senators and representatives can be found on our college website. I look forward to keeping the public apprised of issues that affect community colleges.

Dr. G. Brent Wallace joined North Central Texas College in the fall of 2011 as the Vice President of Instruction/Chief Academic Officer, he has served as Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer since 2014.

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