Texas Workforce Commissioner Julian Alvarez III visited Tyler Junior College on Wednesday.
Alvarez came to TJC's main campus for a work session and for the opportunity to meet with TJC and community leaders to discuss ways to further expand student success through career development opportunities and community partnerships.
Harkening back to his days of carrying around the NCAA rule book as a college football referee, Commissioner Alvarez discussed the Tri-Agency Report, which serves as a rule book that he and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) created with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency. The report helps to identify regions’ specific workforce needs and find ways to train area students to fill those needs.
“Keep in mind that we are the only state in this country where we put together a report like this and have a game plan,” he said. “We’re training individuals not just for jobs, we’re training them for careers.”
Alvarez praised TJC and leaders from Tyler and East Texas for their collaborative spirit.
He said, “One thing I can tell you about Tyler Junior College is that you have a very strong relationship with industry, the economic development councils and corporations, the Chambers of Commerce, and the non-profits who serve the region. You do not see that everywhere, and it’s amazing.”
“I can see why the unemployment rate here is so low. Texas is at a 3.4 percent unemployment rate. Nationally, we’re at a 4. You are between us, between 3.4 and 4 percent. For a community like Tyler, that says a lot about the leadership in this community.”
TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “What makes our region among the best is that our community leaders are intentional about the best ways to partner and collaborate. I am convinced that there is not a more pro-education community than ours. TJC has more than 130 degree and certificate options that help us get our students to where they need to be.”
“Tyler, Texas is the city of the American dream to me,” said Skip Ogle, Tyler Chamber of Commerce board chair. “It is the city where you can create your own opportunity or work with someone who’s creating an opportunity for you. It has the great Tyler Junior College and all of the other educational institutions in this town. There’s no other city like Tyler, Texas.”
Mejia celebrated the Board of Trustees, the leadership team, the faculty and staff, the students of the institution, and the East Texas communities, and shared that by working together TJC can continue to be recognized as one of the best junior/community colleges in the nation.
“At TJC, we are about moving the needle in the lives of our students and their families,” he said. “The nucleus of society is the family, and the family can be positively impacted by that one student that we truly make a difference in. We are about stellar service at our beloved institution, and Tyler Junior College may be the best haven that a student will experience. We want this to be a place where they know that we care. I believe in the mission of junior/community colleges, and I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of Tyler Junior College.”
Mejia added, “Commissioner Alvarez is a stellar leader, a dear friend, and a champion for Texas. We are truly honored by his visit.”