Fort Worth

UTA conference focuses on more Texans earning college degrees

Raymund Paredes, Texas Commisioner of Higher Education, is among Texas leaders working to ensure that more young Texans are prepared to meet the demand of the future marketplace.
Raymund Paredes, Texas Commisioner of Higher Education, is among Texas leaders working to ensure that more young Texans are prepared to meet the demand of the future marketplace. Star-Telegram archives

Even though the deadline is 14 years away, a plan to graduate more high school students who are “college-ready” is well under way.

Texas educators tasked with helping prepare more students for tomorrow’s workforce gathered Tuesday at the University of Texas at Arlington for a regional conference on 60x30TX, a higher education plan that calls for 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 to have a college degree or professional certificate by 2030.

“The goal is to position Texas as a national leader in higher education by the year 2030,” said Raymund Paredes, commissioner/CEO for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Only 38.5 percent of young Texas adults hold a degree or certificate, according to the coordinating board.

We need to make sure we have a strong K-12 pipeline. We have to make sure students are getting adequate levels of rigor.

Raymund Paredes, commissioner/CEO for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Paredes was one of several speakers Tuesday at the state’s first regional conference aimed at mapping strategies for how Texas will meet the challenge and stay competitive in the global marketplace. About 200 North Texas education, civic, business and nonprofit leaders participated in the event held at the College Park Center.

Regional conferences will be held throughout the state.

The goal is significant for the future of Texas, particularly the future of Arlington. It sets a bold goal for students to have access to higher education.

Marcelo Cavazos, superintendent Arlington schools

“The purpose of 60x30TX is to enhance Texas’ economic competitiveness and improve our quality of life in this state. It’s essential to the future of Texas,” Paredes said.

UTA President Vistasp Karbhari told educators that graduating more college-ready students from high school is “a challenge we cannot hide from.”

Only 35 percent of the 25-to-34-year-old Texas population had an associate or higher degree in 2013, according to Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan 2015-2030.

The work involves cooperation among educational systems that help make the shift from high school to college more seamless, he said. He cited UTA’s efforts with Arlington’s public schools as examples, including a STEM Academy and a Teacher Academy.

“We need to look at the challenge in front of us and develop some answers,” Karbhari said.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

  Comments