Skills gap poses ‘clear and present danger’ in North Texas

Dallas Business Journal  

To be a world-class business location, it’s critical for North Texas to attract the best talent from around the country and world.


But a skills gap exists here and nationwide preventing young adults from landing jobs in growing industries and threatening North Texas’ economic prosperity, business executives and education leaders said in a summit on workforce issues Tuesday in Plano.

  “I can’t think of a more clear and present danger that we have in our community and also across the United States than education,” Sanjiv Yajnik, president of Financial Services Capital One and chairman of Collin County Business Alliance, said in an interview with the Dallas Business Journal at the CCBA summit.   Jennifer Carmichael, senior director of talent acquisition at Capital One, described the war for talent in North Texas as “ferocious.” She asked panelists in one session whether a four-year university degree continues to be necessary, or whether employers should look at hiring differently.   A degree still matters, said Scott Kirkpatrick, president and chief operating officer of General Assembly, a global education organization aimed at closing the skills gap. But the higher education system has big flaws, including costs that are too high, Kirkpatrick said.  

Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, said Texas sends about 54 percent of high school graduates to college, compared to a national average of 65 percent. Since the recession ended, 11.6 million brand new jobs — not recovered jobs — have been created. Out of the 11.6 million jobs, 11.5 million require some kind of post high school education. “Only 100,000 new jobs require a high school credential or less,” he said.

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