Others who deserve praise, Garza said, include Blas Castañeda, chair of the TBC's workforce committee, former Laredo Mayor and TBC Chair Betty Flores, South Texas College, McAllen Economic Development Corporation, and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for making ABE one of its top legislative priorities.
Castañeda was chief external affairs/special projects officer for Laredo Community College for many years.
The Guardian interviewed him in April when the Huffman/Guillen legislation was making its way through the legislature.
"The Adult Basic Education
program is absolutely crucial to decreasing unemployment, increasing literacy, and putting Texas and especially our border region on a path to continued economic success in the 21st Century," Castañeda
told the Guardian.
supports moving ABE
provided current funding for the program stays intact and resources are allocated to the areas of greatest need.
"Through the 28 local workforce boards all around the state, TWC
has excellent connections to employers and the skills and training they need in the workforce.
understands that in today's competitive world, the most important goal of ABE
is to prepare workers to join the workforce and take care of their families as rapidly as possible," Castañeda
wrote in a letter sent last November to state Rep.
letter to the Sunset Commission
pointed out how important ABE
is for the communities represented by TBC
"Many border cities and communities suffer from a high percentage of citizens, aged 25 years and older, who lack a high school diploma," Castañeda
"In El Paso, for example, 30 percent of the workforce lacks a high school diploma or GED.
that number climbs to 45 percent; and 48 percent in Brownsville.
Statewide the figure is 24 percent.
"Please remember that these workers are an untapped gold mine of productivity for the border, and they need ABE
education so that they can access job skill training and begin contributing to their local economies," Castañeda
"With investment in our human resource, we can make our border cities attractive to high tech and high-skilled industries that can provide a better quality of living to residents.
Thank you for remembering how important the ABE
program is to so many people, especially along the border."
also pointed out that in Laredo
program has a long waiting list of students who want to learn new job skills in order to take advantage of oil and gas development in the Eagle Ford Shale play.
Castañeda also noted that the Sunset Commission recommended a transition advisory committee be set up to oversee the move from TEA to TWC.
This recommendation made it into law.
said the advisory committee should: