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Three students walking on campus. Two women. One man.

Community Colleges: Building the Texas Workforce

Sara Sherizen

Employers look to community colleges to help address local workforce needs – to transform today’s students into tomorrow’s new hires. Partnerships between colleges, industry, and nonprofit organizations are essential for aligning student pathways with in-demand professions.

That’s why we are expanding our work in college success to include a focus on industry-aligned credentials and associate degrees in our home state of Texas. It’s a two-for-one that helps students access a strong career pathway while delivering the talent local employers are seeking. Equipped with in-demand qualifications and skills, young adults can increase their earning potential and access new opportunities for themselves and their families.

For more than two decades, the foundation has supported students across the country to persist through college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. In Central Texas, we partner with organizations that equip students for success in higher education, from credentialing programs to college degrees, to prepare for in-demand careers. We are looking to continue and build on these longstanding commitments to ensure more Texas students achieve both college and career success.

Community College: Fast Track to Opportunity

There’s a reason nearly half of Texas students are enrolled in two-year institutions. Community colleges are closer to home and typically more affordable than other degree programs, and schedules are flexible. Most importantly, they can offer a fast track to careers offering family-sustaining wages within just a couple of years.

The opportunity is there, but none of that matters if students don’t successfully complete the required training and graduate. Graduation rates are low; the completion rate at two-year colleges in Texas is only 26%. But we know from experience that the right support can make all the difference.

Partnering to Create Strong Career Pathways

Our work focuses on empowering young people to chart their own path to a brighter future. For many Texans, the journey begins at a community college. These institutions enroll a population of students that reflects the diversity of our state – including students from low-income backgrounds, first-generation college students, and students of color.

We are looking to partner with community colleges and organizations that are focused on helping young adults in Texas earn an industry-aligned credential or associate degree within three years of college enrollment.