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Above: Dan Noble, CEO of HKS Architects, addresses YTEXAS CEO panelists and guests. Photo credit: Karen Salomon

By Todd Short, COO – YTEXAS
January 29, 2018

DALLAS, January 29, 2018 /YTEXAS/ – Steadfast in its pursuit of workforce development, YTEXAS held a CEO round table discussion at the corporate headquarters of HKS Architects in Dallas.  The level of enthusiasm for the day’s event had been fueled by the positive feedback from the previous week’s workforce discussions in Austin.

The culture and creative atmosphere of global architectural design firm, HKS Architects, served as yet another fitting host for a CEO group seeking transformation through innovation and collaboration.  Renown for award-winning designs, HKS boasts 1400 employees worldwide in 24 offices across 7 countries.  HKS CEO Dan Noble noted that he traveled from his home state of South Dakota on a mission to become a part of the 200-member HKS team back in 1983.

Wes Jurey, Executive Director of Redemption Bridge and Chairman of Texas Workforce Investment Council, addressed attendees with his well-articulated strategy to develop industry recognized certification programs in the Dallas County Community College District.

“In Dallas County there are currently more than 16,000 non-duplicated job listings posted in the logistics sector. Individual jobseekers who achieved a “Certified Logistics Technician” certification would be highly employable for a significant number of those openings. The issue of industry certifications, however, is not well understood, as less than 5% of the tens of thousands of certifications advertised in the marketplace are truly recognized by industry,” stated Jurey.

The Dallas County Community College District is comprised of 7 campuses across 12 locations with a total of 165,000 students – making it the second largest community college system in the country.

“I believe we are faced with a higher education image problem. Social pressures push prospective students to expensive university programs that focus on degrees and not skills.  Our intention is to create early college high schools whereby you walk across the stage with both a high school diploma and an associate degree.  Creating graduates that are trained in the skills necessary to join the workforce in a specific field,” stated Mark Hays, Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development at Dallas County Community College District.

Hays goes on to say, “In addition to custom certification programs, we are launching apprentice programs.  By 2030 it is our goal to have 5,000 companies employing 50,000 apprentices.  The first phase of the apprentice program kicks off with two companies in Garland, Texas in March of 2018.”

Redemption Bridge and Dallas County Community College District are looking to employers to get the valuable feedback necessary to determine what certification programs fill immediate needs, while also keeping a mindful eye on what is coming in the future.

Over 40 CEO panelists joined the aforementioned organizations in order to provide information on their particular hiring challenges as well as participate in a short survey. Participants included the CEOs from the following companies and industry sectors: TDIndustries (construction), NTT DATA (technology), Kubota Tractor Corp. (agriculture), Jacobs (engineering),  Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty (professional services) and Neuline Health Management (healthcare).

The living wage of a single person in Dallas is $10.89/hour. There are currently 42,000 jobs in the Dallas Metroplex that earn $24.00/hour or more and do not require a college degree.  This may be the most poignant statistic that a four-year bachelor degree may start giving way to a new way of thinking.

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