“Where Can I Intern?”: State Commissioners Challenge Texas Employers and Students

February 1, 2018

Media contact: Lisa Givens
Phone: 512-463-8556

AUSTIN ⎯ For Texas students to succeed in their future careers, they should have the opportunity to work in that career in advance. In Texas, we want that preparation to be paid, offer academic credit, and help students graduate with marketable skills and real-life experience, all while helping employers fill high-demand jobs.   

Toward that effort, and following Governor Greg Abbott’s charge to address education and workforce outcomes, the Texas Internship Challenge was launched in February 2017. The Texas Internship Challenge is a partnership between the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).  The Challenge charges industry, employer and other partners to offer multiple paid internships to Texas high school and college students—and in turn make these internships easily accessible to Texas students on one centralized accessible website.

If the Texas Internship Challenge has a story, it’s about listening. In short, Texas talked and we listened. In this case Texas employers, education experts, industry specialists and community partners across the state all agreed that internships provide a meaningful way to connect our future workforce with a career path. We heard the clear message they conveyed—ensuring that high school and college students understand the direct linkage between classroom learning and the workplace. 

If we want to ensure that Texas becomes the leader in certain targeted fields and that the state is positioned for continued economic prosperity, we must promote work-based learning opportunities and other applied learning opportunities. Paid internship opportunities are critical to ensure our future talent pipeline is equipped with awareness and work-readiness for Texas careers.

In addition, the broader goals of THECB’s “60x30TX” (the state’s higher education plan) can be easily realized in a way that reflects the full potential of the students in our classrooms, aligning with the economic activity occurring across the state. THECB’s plan envisions that 60 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds hold a certificate or post-secondary degree by 2030.

Increasing employment and applied learning opportunities through the Texas Internship Challenge will help link learning in the classroom, create relevance between the different subjects studied and help all students develop the skills required for future occupations. These experiences will be instrumental in preparing Texans to meet the challenges and opportunities that await them in the 21st Century and beyond.

A year later, it’s time to reaffirm our commitment to the Challenge, pledging to work in partnership with employers and educational institutions across Texas. These internships provide our employers an opportunity to convey workplace skills to students while showcasing the advantages of working for these companies and the dynamic opportunities in the industries that they represent. Simply put, this is a unique opportunity to highlight careers in our Texas industries.

We must increase the number of high school and college internships in high-demand industry clusters and occupations, and provide students with work skills, strong work habits, and possible college credit.

We applaud and continue to challenge Texas employers to join us in helping the future Texas workforce understand the broad range of opportunities available to them in a growing Texas economy. We call on all employers, large and small, to join our efforts in expanding the skills of our Texas students, our future workforce. 

Our students deserve an excellent start toward a productive and meaningful life, but more importantly our communities and nation depend on a fully educated workforce to ensure our companies remain competitive in a global economy. We can work to get this job done together.

Will you take the Challenge?

By Mike Morath, Raymund Paredes, Andres Alcantar, Ruth R. Hughs and Julian Alvarez

MIKE MORATH is the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). RAYMUND PAREDES is the Commissioner of the Texas Higher Educating Coordinating Board (THECB). ANDRES ALCANTAR is the Chairman and Commissioner Representing the Public of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). RUTH RUGGERO HUGHS is the Commissioner Representing Employers of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). JULIAN ALVAREZ III is the Commissioner Representing Labor of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

Texas Workforce Commission  512-463-8942  www.texasworkforce.org  Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
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