Community leaders see advantage to growing local workforce
With the new College & Career Academy in the early planning stages, local community leaders see the project as a sign the community is at the forefront of developing a local, quality workforce. At the same time, the Academy will help Rockwall ISD meet new Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board goals for students.
The new College & Career Academy, a result of the November bond election, is exciting for community and local leaders. “The passing of the school bond is far greater reaching than just preparing our students for college and career,” said Rockwall Economic Development Corporation CEO Sheri Franza. “It truly impacts the culture and climate of our city, our property values, our neighbors and our tax rate.”
As the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation works to broaden and diversify the tax base in the community, they also recruit industry and corporations to the community. “The number one question asked of a site selector or business owner is ‘what is the talent of your workforce.’ The quality of our workforce puts Rockwall in a position to attract the high-end businesses we want to have in our city. The businesses we attract have a direct impact on our culture and climate and ultimately affects the value of our real estate,” said Franza.
For Lake Pointe Health Network CEO and Rockwall Area Chamber of Commerce Chair-Elect Brett Lee the new College & Career Academy represents a collaborative relationship between business and schools. “The new college and career academy will pair excellent classroom education with practical, hands on experiences provided by local business leaders,” said Lee. “This combination will prepare graduates to be successful in a rapidly changing work environment.”
Rockwall ISD has worked collaboratively with community leaders to identify growing industries, such as healthcare, engineering, science, and mathematics. Students can select one of these focus areas to receive in-depth training as part of their high school experience. “The result will be graduates that are prepared for college and highly sought-after in the job market,” said Lee.
On a broader scale, the College & Career Academy propels Rockwall ISD to the forefront of achieving Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board goals as announced recently by Governor Greg Abbott. The state’s goal, named 60x30TX (60 by 30 Texas), tasks educators and industry to ensure at least 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 will have a certificate or degree by 2030. The College & Career Academy will offer high school students the opportunity to earn professional certifications and up to a year of college credit by graduation. STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) occupations requiring professional certifications, such as Solid Works, Mastercam, Autodesk, Architectural Revit and cyber security are high need areas that place students in an advantageous position for successful entry into the workforce. Most importantly, Rockwall ISD graduates are ready for the next step of their choice – higher education or a quality career in the workforce.
Whether meeting local needs or state goals, the new College & Career Academy will position Rockwall and its students at the forefront of education and ready for the future.