The Commit Partnership joins Texas 2036, the Texas Association of Community Colleges, the Texas Business Leadership Council, and the Texas Community College Student Advisory Council in applauding the Texas Legislature’s passage of House Bill 8. This key bill, which now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for a signature, was primarily authored by Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston), chair of the House Appropriations Article III Subcommittee, and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), chair of the Senate Education Committee and Higher Education Subcommittee. The legislation is based on the final recommendations of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance (TCCCF) and will bolster community colleges as Texas faces a growing skilled workforce shortage. According to the most recent federal data, as of March 2023, Texas had over 800,000 unfilled job openings.
“The passage of House Bill 8 is a momentous step forward for Texas students, community colleges, and our business community,” said Commit Partnership CEO and Founder Todd Williams. “Community colleges are our best shot at addressing our state’s skilled workforce shortage, which is the result of only 1 in 4 Texans having any kind of postsecondary degree by the age of 24. With House Bill 8 enshrined in law, our community colleges will soon have the tools and resources necessary to address this gap. I was proud to serve on the Texas Commission on Community College Finance alongside Chair VanDeaver and Chair Creighton, and I am grateful for their strong legislative leadership on this issue. We look forward to supporting our state’s community colleges as they implement this transformational legislation.”
House Bill 8, stemming from the TCCCF and dedicated support of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, will:
1. Shift state funding for community colleges to focus primarily on the student outcomes that employers need, including completion of degrees and certificates and transfers to four-year institutions.
2. Increase access to postsecondary pathways by creating a financial aid program for economically disadvantaged high school students to enroll in dual credit at no cost.
3. Improve affordability of community college by expanding the availability of the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG) program.
4. Invest in workforce development programs and outcomes with an emphasis on high-demand fields so Texas businesses will have access to a regionally aligned, skilled workforce.
5. Resolve the underlying structural flaws of our community college finance system by ensuring each college has access to a defined level of base funding for instruction and operations.
This legislation also has the support of the Austin Chamber, Dallas Regional Chamber, E3 Alliance, Educate Texas, Greater Houston Partnership, Longview Chamber, Opportunity Austin, Philanthropy Advocates, Texas Association of Businesses and The Education Trust in Texas.