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June 1, 1998     (512) 463-0300

SENATORS DISCUSS TEXAS ECONOMY, EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT ISSUES

AUSTIN - Members of the Senate Interim Committee on Economic Development met in the Senate Chamber on Monday, June 1, to discuss various charges regarding the economy, the state's workforce, and education issues. The committee's chair, Senator David Sibley of Waco, focused the meeting on finding ways to improve the economy, reduce unemployment rates, and increase graduation rates among Texas youth. Those testifying in Monday's public hearing were asked to provide suggestions on where revenue dollars should be spent to make these goals happen.

Members of the committee include Senators Rodney Ellis of Houston, Tom Haywood of Wichita Falls, Frank L. Madla of San Antonio, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso, and Florence Shapiro of Plano. Also present were Senators Robert Duncan of Lubbock and Jerry Patterson of Pasadena.

The meeting began with a presentation from Roland Arriola, a representative from the UT Pan America Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship. Arriola briefed the members on the status of the Texas–Mexico Border Region, Texas' gateway to Mexico and South America, regarding trade, education, and unemployment. Providing insights into border region economic development were representatives from the Hunt Building Corporation in El Paso, the Maverick County Development Corporation, and the McAllen Development Corporation.

The hearing then shifted into testimony regarding the state's workforce and education situations. Mike Sheridan and Alan Miller, both from the Texas Workforce Commission, provided testimony regarding the Texas Workforce Development Delivery System. Representatives from the University of Texas at Brownsville, Texas State Technical College, the Texas Education Agency, and the Texas Department of Economic Development provided insights into workforce and education issues.

Explaining Texas' workforce needs were representatives from Ommy Strauch and Associates, 3M Company, Samsung Austin Semiconductors, and American Airlines. Public testimony followed.

The committee will gather its findings and present a final report to the 76th Legislature which convenes in January of next year.

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