Over 200 Network of Texas IAF Organization (NTO) leaders and Capital IDEA students and graduates landed at the Texas state capitol to pressure state representatives and senators to restore full funding of the Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Fund (ACE Fund), a state funds that support long-term workforce training, at $5 Million. The delegation additionally called on the legislature to support local control and oppose ant-immigrant legislation.
NTO leaders were received as guests of the legislature during a reading of a resolution in support of the ACE fund by five House Members, including Representative John Zerwas. Later that day the Senate also read a resolution in support of the ACE fund. Out on the Capitol steps, leaders additionally held a press conference, with several legislators from emerging from the building to speak in support of the ACE funding.
Part of delegation of leaders that boarded a 4am bus to Austin, Valley Interfaith leader David Jackson, of St. John the Baptist Parish, asked:
"As new jobs are created , the question remains, who will benefits from these new positions? Will we continue to import travel nurses from abroad while there are many who live in McAllen, Idenburg, Weslaco or Pharr who, with the necessary training would be capable of filling those positions and being long-term contributors to our property tax base?....That is the decision our law makers face this legislative session."
Capital IDEA graduates and other graduates from across the state told personal stories about how the workforce initiatives (and ACE funding) helped change their lives, moving them from $10/hour part time work to careers bringing in as much as $70,000 per year! The average wage of a graduate from these programs approaches $21 per hour.
Funding Future Texas Workers in the RGV, The Monitor