Building a Talent Strong Texas

Building a Talent Strong Texas: a strategic plan for higher education

New challenges call for a new approach, and Texas is boldly stepping up. Our refreshed strategic plan for higher education raises the bar for our great state.

We have a lot to be proud of in Texas when it comes to higher ed:

  • Texans have received more degrees, certificates, and credentials over the past decade than at any time in history.
  • Growth in our student enrollment has outpaced every other state.
  • Nearly 60% of our students currently graduate with no debt. 

But the economy is changing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated existing trends in higher education and the workforce. Now, more and more jobs require credentials beyond high school diplomas.

Building a Talent Strong Texas ensures there’s a place for all Texans in tomorrow’s economy.

Read the full plan »

Overview of the Plan

Texas has set ambitious goals in the past, and we are not backing away from them — instead, we’re raising the bar. Our economy demands nothing less.

Building a Talent Strong Texas expands on the successes and progress of our previous plan, 60x30TX, by widening the lens for higher education.

The plan will focus on three measurable, data-driven goals:

1. Attainment of Postsecondary Credentials

Building a Talent Strong Texas expands attainment to include all working-age Texans. In doing so, we can increase employment opportunities and income for individuals, create a deeper talent pool for employers, and align students’ skills with workforce demands.

TARGETS

  • 60% of Texans ages 25-64 will receive a degree, certificate, or other postsecondary credential of value by 2030. Whereas 60x30TX focused on 25-34-year-olds, we are expanding our commitment to serve all working-age Texans.

2. Postsecondary Credentials of Value

Credentials from Texas institutions of higher education must propel graduates into lasting, successful careers. These careers must equip them for continued learning and greater earning potential, with low or manageable debt. 

TARGETS

  • 550,000 students will complete postsecondary credentials of value each year.
  • 95% of students will graduate with no undergraduate student debt or manageable levels of debt in relation to their potential earnings.

3. Research, Development, and Innovation

Texas must be a leading state in generating knowledge through basic and applied research, and translating that research to innovations, discoveries, and economic development. This requires close partnership among key stakeholders to drive Texas’ economy.

TARGETS

  • $1 billion in annual private and federal research and development expenditures by 2030.
  • 7,500 research doctorates awarded annually by Texas institutions of higher education. 

Across all these goals, we will break down the data by race, gender, income, and geography to make sure all Texans have an opportunity to succeed. Over the past decade, 95% of our state’s population growth was in communities of color. If we do not advance our higher education goals equitably, we can’t achieve them.

Higher education leaders, educators, employers, and policymakers have a unique opportunity to ensure all Texans can contribute to, participate in, and benefit from our world-class economy. We will commit to Texas’ success for the future by working together, leading the nation, and doubling down on our commitment to Building a Talent Strong Texas.

A Plan to Put Texas on Top

These goals not only make sense for a productive and prosperous Texas for years to come; they also make our great state a national leader in higher education policy and practice for the country.

Here is some of what makes the new plan exciting and different:

  • Texas will be the first state in the country to tie our completion goals directly to the wage premiums associated with postsecondary credentials. This includes a broader range of credentials than just our traditional degrees and certificates. It also includes short-term credentials and workforce credentials we haven’t historically tracked.
  • By including an attainment target for 35-64-year-olds, we can better serve working adults who will benefit from more flexible, short-term programs aligned with current and emerging jobs. This goal underscores the importance of shifting our focus to think more broadly about who we serve — to acknowledge and embrace all Texans who want to pursue higher education, even when they don’t fit the traditional student profile.
  • Our regional universities and community colleges play a critical role in research and innovation through their role as incubators, maker spaces, software development labs, and strategic partnerships. We’re excited to invest in these efforts and expand private and federally sponsored research across all our institutions.
  • In raw numbers, Texas grew more than any other state over the past decade, and it is one of the youngest and most diverse states in the nation. More than 95% of our growth over the past decade was in communities of color. If we’re not advancing our goals equitably, we cannot meet those goals.

Read the full plan »