The head of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which works to improve access to college for Texas young people, and attempts to make sure that the state's universities are working together to improve outcomes for students, says several studies of energy companies shows that Texas colleges have not done a good enough job of preparing students for well paying jobs in the booming energy sector, 1200 WOAI News reports.
One survey, by Manpower Group, shows that 72% of energy companies are worried that a lack of trained and skilled workers will damage their international competitiveness.
"Clearly, when he keep hearing reports from employers that they are not getting enough qualified workers, we are not doing enough," Commissioner Raymund Paredes told 1200 WOAI news following a seminar with employers at Rackspace on Monday.
58% of energy industry employers say the are 'challenged to find the right talent,' and three out of four worry that the problem will grow worse in the coming five years as fracking and other advanced methods of extracting oil spread across America and the world.
Paredes says it shows that Texas colleges need to do a better job of identifying emerging sectors of the economy, and be more adroit in training young people to take those jobs.
"We need to accelerate the time that we need to shift gears and develop new academic programs."
Paredes is worried that unless Texas has young people ready and trained to take these jobs, it will be easy for the employers to simply do the work in other countries.
One thing that the Higher Education Coordinating Board is working on is a program to make sure that every student who graduates from a university, four year college, or community college in Texas, right down to the 'Art History' majors, leaves college with a marketable skill.
"Whether you're an English major, a philosophy major, or an engineering major, you will have a marketable skill and you will be taught how to promote that marketable skill when you go for job interviews," he said.
Paredes also said the Board is working on several initiatives to cut down o the high costs of a college education and reduce the crushing, economy-killing levels of debt that students are required to carry into adulthood.
These proposals include Gov. Perry's idea for a $10,000 bachelor's degree, as well as enticements for colleges to graduate more students in four years.