Work-Study Jobs that Lead to Texas Careers

Chandra Villanueva

As one of only 14 states with a state-supported work-study program for college students, Texas has been a leader in recognizing the value of connecting students with jobs. This is especially important as college becomes less affordable leaving many students to rely on loans, part-time jobs, and sometimes even full-time jobs to cover tuition and other expenses. In Texas, between 20 and 25 percent of all college students work full-time.

It is surprising, then, to see that currently all jobs under the Texas College Work-Study Program are on-campus jobs. The point of the program was to set up students for career success by helping them gain work experience and off campus professional contacts while they earned money toward higher education costs.

The Texas Senate Higher Education Committee will discuss SB 947 by Senator Judith Zaffirini (also Watson and Rodriguez) on March 18. SB 947 would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to study and report on the feasibility of creating Private-Sector Work-Study Partnerships that would provide off-campus employment positions through the Texas College Work-Study program.

Creating strong work-study partnerships between businesses and academic institutions assists employers by providing future workers with hands-on experience tailored to the companies’ needs. Private-Sector Work-Study Partnerships will also help low-income and non-traditional students acquire the high quality work experience in their field of study that wealthier students often gain through unpaid internships.

The Texas economy depends on skilled workers, and community colleges are critical to developing our future workforce—nearly 50 percent of all students enrolled in higher education attend community colleges. Community college students are attractive to employer because the life and work experience they bring to their jobs makes them better employees.

Learn more in our new analysis, Beyond the Campus: Connecting Community College Students to Meaningful Employment.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

1 Comment

  • This is a great point, Chandra. “Real-world” job experience is much different (and better) than on-campus training. At Acton School of Business (Austin, TX), we have a mix of classroom, simulation and actual working experience with real businesses. I think this is more authentic and practical than just the on-campus programs.

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