TSTC Board Paves Way to Better Serve the State's Workforce Needs(Waco) The governor-appointed Board of Regents serving Texas State Technical College System gave its approval Thursday for the 11-location college system to pursue single accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The transition is considered a demanding endeavor but one that is expected to be completed by Sept. 15, 2015 and should strengthen TSTC's ability to supply a skilled workforce for the Texas economy.
"As an agency of the state of Texas, TSTC has a mission of helping Texas meet the high-tech workforce challenges in today's global economy," said Ellis Skinner, Chairman of the TSTC Board of Regents. "TSTC is making this move to single accreditation to reduce operational redundancy among its four colleges, allow horizontal integration for better collaboration, and improve its ability to respond to the local needs served by each campus," added Skinner.
In the last two years, TSTC has added its newest locations at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center north of Austin and at TSTC North Texas south of Dallas.
"As the demand for a technically skilled workforce accelerates, we regularly field calls from communities 'wanting a TSTC' in their region," said Michael L. Reeser, TSTC Chancellor. "Given the growing skills gap for technically skilled workers in Texas and the nation, TSTC can reasonably expect the demand for our graduates to grow at a faster rate in the future than in this past. Once we transition to a single accreditation, we will be better positioned to respond in a more consistent manner."
Reeser added, "Texas taxpayers expect TSTC to be both effective and efficient. A single accreditation will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in overhead costs while providing a more consistent high-quality outcome across the state. This change demonstrates that TSTC is serious about maximizing the benefits produced by public funds."
According to the 2014 report issued by the Texas Workforce Boards, "It is becoming more common that businesses in key industries in Texas are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill available, middle-skill jobs." TSTC offers programs and credentials targeted specifically toward those high-paying jobs.
The fastest growing postsecondary credential today is not a bachelor's or associate's degree but a career-focused certificate recognized by industry. According to a recent publication released by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, "the number of certificates awarded has skyrocketed more than 800 percent over the past 30 years. Certificates are an affordable alternative usually earned in less than one or two years, and can boost a worker's earning power by 20% over those with only a high school diploma."
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is a regional accrediting organization through which most Texas universities and colleges seek their accreditation. Holding an accreditation from SACSCOC is an indication that an institution follows operational standards that maintain a high level of educational quality.
This strategic move by TSTC leadership is designed to help more Texans gain the technical skills needed for the ever-growing Texas workforce demand.
For more information, go to www.tstc.edu/systemoffice/sacscoc or email oneTSTC@tstc.edu.
About TSTCTexas State Technical College (www.tstc.edu) consists of four technical colleges with campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Harlingen, Hutto, Ingleside, Marshall, Red Oak, Richmond, Sweetwater, and Waco. TSTC is the only college in America to adopt a funding model based entirely on student employment outcomes - aligning with its purpose of strengthening Texas with a highly skilled, technically competent workforce. The statewide college will celebrate 50 years of service to Texas in 2015.