OC EDC and Orange County Independent School Districts partner in Texas21 Career Pathways Initiative

Published 7:26 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

To The Leader

Orange County Economic Development Corporation (OC EDC) has announced that Junior High and Middle School campuses throughout Orange County are working together to ensure our graduates are prepared for career opportunities in our area. The “Texas Opportunity Zone” is a regional workforce development initiative that has been created as a way for business and local educational institutions to engage and support students participating in Texas21, a dynamic education and career planning curriculum developed by educators at Region 6 ESC in partnership with Rocket21. Orange County is the first Texas County to enroll all districts in the curriculum.

Texas21 offers students an engaging, immersive educational experience that guides them through an exploration of their interests and passions while helping them to create their Personal Graduation Plan in one of five Endorsement Areas, as required by Texas House Bill 5: Foundation High School Program. The program provides schools with an education and career planning solution aligned with Texas House Bill 18, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for College and Career Readiness and Career Investigations at the 6-8 grade level.

Advancing through Texas21’s sequence of twenty-one challenges, students formulate their interest profiles, identify relevant career options, and connect with real world professionals from hundreds of fields, before developing a graduation plan containing courses that are available in each student’s district. The program offers comprehensive lessons organized into six units of study with over 190 days of instructional materials.

Executive Director of Region 6 ESC, Mike Holland, said, “The power of Texas21 is its ability to connect students with real world professionals and career education opportunities. Our goal is to work with school districts, post-secondary programs, and business in the area to create career pathways for all student, especially those for whom a four-year post-secondary program might not be an immediate reality after high school.”

The Orange County Economic Development Corporation will sponsor the curriculum in Orange County school districts for 2018-2019. “Workforce development is a critical location factor facing project development and communities across the country,” says Jessica Hill, Executive Director. “In order to compete on a national and local level, we must focus on developing a sustainable supply of talent. Implementing the Texas21 Career Pathways Initiative we are able to complement existing resources at the secondary and post-secondary level, further establishing a continuum of successful employment.”