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Gov. Abbott tasks Texas leaders to develop a plan that ensures more students are workforce ready

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday charged education and workforce leaders to identify specific strategies to help more students complete college or career programs that lead to high-paying jobs.

Abbott wants the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative — whose members are the commissioners of the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission — to look across the educational pipeline to see where the pitfalls are for students and how to help them.

For example, strategies should address how to improve early childhood programs; how to strengthen middle school learning; and how to increase the number of Texans who complete college or credential programs.

“We must continue in our efforts to ensure Texans of all ages have access to high-quality education and workforce skills training that empowers them to achieve their full potential,” Abbott said in a statement.

Abbott’s move is tied to the historic school finance overhaul passed last spring, which included additional state funds for efforts that address college, career or military readiness.

The Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative also is tasked with coming up with a plan to develop a stronger teacher pipeline by examining existing programs in place aimed at lowering the college debt of future teachers and making recommendations to ensure high-quality educators.

Other areas of focus include ensuring that career and technical programs in public schools and community colleges align with workforce needs across the state.

The initiative must deliver its recommendations to the governor by Sept. 1.

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