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Texas Community Colleges May Soon Credit Apprenticeships

Texas Workforce Commission wants to eliminate shortage of middle-skilled workers

Photo of a welder
Florian Martin/Houston Public Media
Welders can currently make up to $40 an hour in Houston.

Apprenticeships are programs in which students split their time in the classroom and on the job. It's a concept that is highly successful in some countries, like Germany, but it's not very common here.

The Texas Workforce Commission wants to change that.

The agency is working to ensure that all community colleges in the state accept apprenticeship credits through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Julian Alvarez is the Texas Workforce Commissioner for Labor.

"Many folks that actually graduate from an apprenticeship school, a DOL-recognized certification of completion, many of them have to go to out-of-state schools to receive an associate degree," he said.

Last week, Alvarez visited several community colleges for Texas Apprenticeship Week.

That includes Houston's San Jacinto College, which offers apprenticeships with several employers, including Dow Chemical.

Sarah Janes, associate vice chancellor for continuing and professional development at the school, said the program is a success there.

"The completion rate of the students and how well they end up doing and they stay with the company, that's pretty close to an 80 percent success rate," she said.

The hope is to get the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to approve course credits for apprenticeships by January.



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