Community leaders talk education, jobs

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Community leaders in Northeast Texas gathered in Mount Pleasant Wednesday for a Workforce and Economic Prosperity Summit.

District One Senator Bryan Hughes said Northeast Texas is attractive to employers, but we have to keep residents trained and ready to work.  “We’re getting to the point where most jobs, in the future, will require some sort of post-high school training,” Hughes said.

Texarkana College President James Henry Russell added that the area is falling behind when it comes to education.  “If we want the great jobs and great lifestyle we’ve got to do a better job of educating our community to be ready for the jobs of the future,” Russell said. 

Part of that readiness, Russell said, is making sure potential employees have ‘soft skills’ that they need to be successful in an industrial environment.  “We’ve heard over and over again from our industry partners they need people that can show up on time, that can dress right, that can work hard, that can pass a drug test,” Russell said.  In response, Texarkana College will soon launch a sixteen week program designed to train students in those areas. 

Officials said it’s all an effort to draw more people to Northeast Texas.  District Five Representative Cole Hefner said, “These group efforts like this, where we come together as a region, are going to be positive for us.”

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