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Testimony: Texas House Committee on Higher Education

August 9, 2022
Written Testimony Submitted on Interim Charge Monitoring Senate Bill 1102
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Texas House Higher Education Committee
Submitted by Philanthropy Advocates

PDF version available here.
Honorable Chair Murphy and Members of the House Higher Education Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on the committee’s interim charge relating to monitoring Senate Bill 1102. Philanthropy Advocates, a collaboration with Educate Texas, is focused on meeting the needs of students, educators, and communities. Our members – over 55 foundations with deep commitments across Texas – continue to invest in programs from cradle to career to ensure Texas students and families have access to resources and opportunities that result in thriving communities and a thriving Texas economy.
Our members aim to deliver high-impact resources quickly where they are most needed and to partner alongside state investments to ensure maximum impact for Texans. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas philanthropy understood students and displaced workers would need to acquire in-demand skills for available occupations in their regions.
As the Texas Legislature contemplated SB 1102, the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling in Education (TRUE) bill, in 2021, Philanthropy Advocates members were working with communities across Texas to provide colleges and workforce partners, such as regional chambers of commerce and workforce development boards, support for capacity-building and alignment of systems. Our members contributed private support across Texas to ensure colleges and their community workforce partners were prepared to apply for state grants made available by SB 1102 and to implement the TRUE bill with fidelity to get individuals reskilled for high-demand, high-wage jobs.
The TRUE initiative aligns with our state’s higher education goals represented in Building a Talent Strong Texas.  Aligning our education systems with industry promises to ensure the Texas talent pipeline thrives and Texas families, communities and our economy are positioned for success today and into our future.
We are encouraged by the current work of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance as well as efforts being led by the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative. Philanthropy Advocates members continue to work with community colleges and workforce partners to ensure infrastructure and wraparound services are in place to enhance and sustain critical linkages between education and the workforce.
Texas philanthropy alone could not provide funds of the same magnitude as the state, yet we stand ready and willing to partner to ensure state funds reach maximum impact. Through research commissioned by our members, we know there is work to be done to continue to align education systems to support student transitions up to and through the workforce. We believe the TRUE initiative provides exemplars to build from in understanding how leveraging our existing education systems, from early childhood through college, can ensure Texans are positioned to enter meaningful careers and continue to meet the needs of our Texas talent pipeline.
We appreciate the committee’s review of this important initiative and are glad to serve as a resource if there are any questions.   
Kristin Boyer
Executive Director, Trellis Foundation
Chair, Philanthropy Advocates

Becky Calahan
Director, Philanthropy Advocates

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