As the demand increases for middle-skilled jobs that require more than a high school diploma, Senator Hinojosa recognizes that community colleges fill a critical role in the effort to prepare Texans with the work skills they need to compete for higher paying jobs. Career Technical Education (CTE) can also provide those skills needed for those jobs through career postsecondary programs, employer-based training, and industry-based certifications. To this end, Senator Hinojosa has passed numerous pieces of legislation and, as Vice Chair of the Senator Finance Committee, helped secure significant funding for community colleges.
In the most recent legislative session in 2019, Senator Hinojosa successfully advocated for $33 million for Del Mar Community College, $84 million for South Texas College, and $4.6 million for Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant Program during the 2020-2021 Biennium.
In prior legislative sessions, Senator Hinojosa has fought for significant victories for community colleges, such as:
- Supported the legislation to create the ‘Texas Innovative Adult Career Education Grant Fund’ (ACE Fund) and, as Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, secured $5 million for the new ACE Fund to invest in high-skill training to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs in Texas;
- Secured $4 million in community college scholarships;
- Helped pass legislation that allows South Texas College to offer a bachelor’s degree program in applied technology;
- Expanded legislation that teams up community colleges in South Texas with local high schools on dropout recovery programs;
- Supported legislation that allocated $154 million for community college health insurance costs;
- Passed HCR 82 creating a joint interim committee to study education policy as it relates to developing a skilled workforce and to explore topics like curriculum requirements, opportunities for new education-workforce partnerships, and the impact of emerging industrial sectors;
- Secured millions of dollars for the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Program, designed to help put Texans back in the workforce; and
- Sponsored HB 2169 (81R) establishing additional job incentive programs that use the skills development fund as an incentive to lure new businesses to Texas. By distributing money to prospective employers in return for the commitment to establishing a place of business in Texas, to provide workforce training in an effort to create and retain employment opportunities in Texas.
Senator Hinojosa also passed the legislation that established a center for public safety training in the Rio Grande Valley to provide specialized training and continuing education that law enforcement personnel locally. South Texas College administers the regional center in partnership with political subdivisions and participating school districts in the Rio Grande Valley. The training provided at the regional center provides officers with college credit toward either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree.