New grad requirements to improve ETX workforce - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

New grad requirements to improve ETX workforce


Massive changes coming to Texas high school graduation requirements may have a serious impact on the work force East Texas.

The Texas State Board of Education approved five different pathways, or endorsements as they are called, for graduation. They are: arts and humanities, business and industry, public services, multidisciplinary studies, and STEM, or science math engineering and technology. An option for the foundation plan, or the minimum to graduate, is also available for students who plan to go directly into the workforce after graduation. Parents and councilors will be part of choosing the most appropriate path for the student in eighth grade, before they declare that path in high school.

Officials with the Tyler Business Education Council say this new program will have a positive impact on the future East Texas workforce.

It's perfect timing, Christy Khalaf with the Business Education Council, said, at least for East Texas.

"It's a really great time to be in Tyler because with house bill five we're well positioned with all of our new educational options opening," she said.

There's the Tyler ISD Career and Technology Education Center, the Tyler Junior College Energy Center, a new pharmacy school and a health services center all in the works.

"This is opening doors for kids that they probably didn't know existed," Khalaf said.

The new program is designed to encourage students to look at other options if college isn't for them.

"A lot of kids get discouraged because they feel like they're not college material. Then they feel like there's not really a path for them," she said.

"They may not be as prepared for college in certain subjects, but they may actually be more educated in terms of an IVN, or a lab tech, or a welder, or a diesel tech mechanic," Thomas Ratliff, with the Texas Education Board, said.

Preparing for a career early to propel them into the East Texas workforce.

"Since these new requirements are opening up all these new, what they're calling endorsements, then a student could go after that particular endorsement and that could lead them to a great job right here in Tyler where they'd be earning a very great wage and they would be really, really successful and productive citizens of our community," Khalaf said.

Those endorsements will focus on each student's individual skills focusing on what's relevant, said Ratliff.

"I think this is a fundamental shift and the right thing to do to recognize high school can be more than it is and it's not just the same education for every kid, regardless of their destination," Ratliff said.

Building an education in the classroom to land the students right back in East Texas.

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