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Texas hopes to increase apprenticeship learning

Photo by Ramstein Airforce Base

Last month, the state of Texas held its first-ever summit on registered apprenticeships in San Antonio.

Like many states, Texas struggles with skills gaps and worker shortages in industries like construction. Building trades often use the “earn while you learn” model, but it’s becoming more popular in sectors like IT and healthcare as well.

"In actuality, the most demanding occupations in Texas don’t require a four year degree," explained Julian Alvarez, a commissioner at Texas Workforce Commission. Nine months ago, his agency established a new department with staff dedicated to increasing apprenticeships in Texas.

"The employers need to buy into it," he said. "

One employer familiar to many in Texas, Valero, attended last the conference, along with twenty others.

Right now, the effort uses federal grant dollars to run marketing programs, but Alvarez says the state could increase funding.