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Chancellor: Technical Jobs Next Big Challenge For Lone Star College

Regional economy includes more than one million “middle skill” jobs.

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Lone Star College’s retiring chancellor, Dr. Richard Carpenter

Many students go to a community college like Lone Star with a plan: Study for a year or two, then transfer to a four-year university and finish with a bachelor’s degree.

Lone Star College’s outgoing chancellor Richard Carpenter says higher ed should move its focus from those students and pay more attention to something else — jobs.

“What we are seeing is an absolute avalanche of shortages in the technical workforce skills.”

Companies call them “middle skill jobs.”

They require more than a high school diploma but less than a four year degree.

Jobs like welders, technicians and dental hygienists.

“We have fallen far behind in preparing the workforce with the technical skills that employers in the area are in critical short supply of today.”

The Greater Houston Partnership estimates there are more than one million middle skill jobs in the region.

Appearing on Houston Matters, Carpenter says some businesses are so desperate for trained workers they’ll pay for their training.

“We’re seeing in increasing numbers their willingness to step up, participate in the process, hire people maybe before they earn their degree and then fund the completion of the degree as an employee,” said Carpenter, who leaves the Lone Star College system this week after seven years there.

The local economy is expected to see almost 75,000 openings in these middle skill jobs by 2017.

 

Houston Matters interview with Lone Star College’s retiring chancellor, Dr. Richard Carpenter:

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