Training ecosystem, teacher strategy in the works

The Permian Strategic Partnership is working to establish a training ecosystem to address industry development needs.

Molly Young, director of education and workforce initiatives for PSP, spoke about the initiative at the Education Partnership of the Permian Basin meeting Tuesday at the Region 18 Education Service Center.

The gathering was held in person, but also over Zoom.

Young said she is a proponent of systems alignment, in this case with kindergarten through 12th grade and postsecondary education.

Called the PSP Catalyst Workforce Development initiative, it will be led by the University of Texas at Austin Petroleum Extension at Cockrell School of Engineering and PetroSkills.

The initiative will aim to not only define industry benchmarked skills and competencies required in today’s Permian Basin job roles, but also identifies suitable training providers available in the region that can be used to close common competence gaps experienced by those positions, material from the meeting said.

A project kick-off meeting is set for 2 p.m. May 26, the information said.

University of Texas Permian Basin Dean of the College of Education Larry Daniel said Texas Tech University received a foundation grant. Jesse Mendez, dean of the College of Education at Tech, reached out to the other three university deans, Daniel included and nine community colleges to have a two-day summit.

Daniel said the subject will be the teacher shortages throughout the region from Lubbock out to El Paso.

“… Probably no part of that community that is adequately served … so we’ve all got more work to do. But the idea is to talk about the need, present their statistics, talk about the good ideas we already have across all these institutions, and then determine how we can coordinate better, how we can build better articulation agreements,” Daniel said.

“We have a great example of the OC to UTPB program that’s worked incredibly well in our region …,” he added.

Daniel said they want to hear the ideas and probably build an inter-institutional strategy.

Education Partnership Executive Director Adrian Vega said the organization is being looked at to become part of Early Matters, an organization that focuses on the importance of early childhood education.

The group also got an update on the Grow Our Own Action Network. The purpose of the network is to identify, align and leverage community resources that lead to increased post-secondary success, workforce development and a stronger community.

A couple of the data points showed that 75.9 percent of people over the age of 25 completed high school. This is according to Census data. Nationally, it’s 88 percent and in Texas it is 83.7 percent.

The percentage of people who have attained an associate and bachelor’s degree combined in Ector County is about 18 percent. In Texas, it is about 27 percent and nationally it’s about 29 percent, a presentation from the meeting showed.

Amy Anderson, director of the AVID program for Ector County ISD, said they served about 60 students this year in the middle school mentor coaching program at Bonham Middle School virtually this spring.

The effort included 10 community coaches, eight ECISD hosts, five ECISD substitutes, 28 students and six sessions.

The last session is Wednesday and a drive-thru celebration is planned for May 26.

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri gave an update on the Permian Basin Education Leadership Summit held May 5 in Midland.

The federal government has provided funds for public schools and the meeting was to discuss ideas on how to best spend those funds over the next three years to address learning challenges.

“For ECISD alone, we could see $100 million …,” Muri said.

A virtual follow-up meeting is set for June 3.

A survey sent out to participants said they would like to continue the summits, Muri said.

“There is clearly a hunger for more conversations,” he added.

Leaders compare notes at summit