6 Veteran Resume Writing Tips

One of our promises to Texas and American veterans is to continue to provide veterans assistance outside of Veterans Day. That’s why we host an annual state-wide Texas hiring fair specifically for veterans; Hiring Red, White, and You is a massive yearly job fair that has more than 30 fairs happening in 30 locations on the same day! 14,420 businesses look to hire vets at Hiring Red, White, and You (HRWY), and 84,153 people like you have gotten jobs through our biggest job fair of the year. In fact, we’ve had veteran-friendly business hire 2,027 people on the spot! Yes, this includes disabled veterans! 

Find out when the next Hiring Red, White, and You veteran job fair is → 

Don’t want to wait until the next mega job fair? Search by county and find your local Veteran Specialist to learn about upcoming Veteran events → 

So, how do you increase your chances of getting hired on the spot? Check out these resume writing tips that are catered specifically to military service members! Here are six step-by-step tips for writing great resumes. 

6 Resume Writing Tips for Military Veterans 

Resume Tip #1: Create your resume writing compass 

Now that you’re leaving military service, the very first step in making a successful career transition is to discover what you want to be and craft the perfect resume for the job you want.  

  1. Learn who you are by writing down your interests, goals, and objectives. This is your compass. 
  2. Use your compass to help you determine the type of job, position, and company you want to apply for. 
  3. Find job descriptions and postings that match your compass. 
  4. Use these exact descriptions to help you explain how your military experiences relate to the job you want on your resume.  

Knowing that you’re leaving the military is not enough; you must know what you want to do in order to write a great resume. So, you should consider:  

  1. Who you are: These are your military accomplishments
  2. How you want to be perceived: Do you want to be seen as a fleet manager or mechanic? A combat medic or a medical technician? What have you done in the military for all these years and how do they translate into civilian speak? 

Remember, you’re selling your best military traits to a civilian. Using your compass will help you write about traits that are relevant to the job; you can now write a resume in a way that civilians can understand. 

Resume tip #2: Make your good resume stand out: Sell it; don’t tell it 

You are the product, and you must sell yourself. We recommend the “sell it to me… don’t tell it to me” strategy.  

If you “tell it,” you are just stating facts, and that can look boring to a hiring manager. If you “sell it,” you draw more attention to it and make your resume stand out above the others.  

When you talk about your military experiences, sell your best successes! The impact is incredible:  

  1. DO NOT use the “tell it” Strategy: Managed inventory of equipment during 9-month overseas deployment.  
  2. DO use the “sell it” Strategy: Directed a team of 29 electricians, machinists, and mechanics and maintained more than $30 million in equipment throughout an arduous 9-month overseas deployment. Achieved/maintained 100% inventory accuracy. 

Resume tip #3: Use keywords from the job description in your resume

An easy way to make your military skills and experiences stand out to an employer is to match their language. When writing a resume, you may wonder if you should tailor your resume to a specific job position. The answer is yes.  

Using keywords and phrases directly from the job description makes it easy to determine which of your skills to put on a resume. It also lets your hiring manager know that you’re a perfect fit and that you pay attention to detail. The following paragraphs list a few examples relevant to different career areas.  

  1. Keywords for operations management: production planning and scheduling, materials management, inventory control, quality, process engineering, robotics, systems automation, integrated logistics, product specifications, project management. 
  2. Keywords for training: needs assessment, instructional programming, training program design, testing and evaluation, public speaking, instructional materials design, seminar planning. 

For you, these can be found by reading the job description thoroughly. Be sure to use the words you read when you describe your work experience and work skills.

Resume tip #4: Focus on big wins and new projects  

When deciding what you want to include in your resume, try to focus on the “big” wins such as:  

  • new programs
  • special projects 
  • cost savings 
  • productivity and efficiency improvements 
  • technology implementation 
  • staff/team performance 

These are accomplishments that every company wants to introduce. Be sure to give a good, broad-based picture of what you were responsible for and how well you did it.  

Example: Supervised daily airfield and maintenance shop operations at a large facility in Northern Italy. Managed a team of 89 personnel and an annual operating budget of $3.5 million for supplies and materials. Consistently achieved/surpassed all productivity, efficiency, readiness, and personnel objectives. 

Resume tip #5: Make sure your resume creates a positive interview

As a veteran, especially a combat veteran, you want to be sure you write your resume in a positive way. 

  1. Don’t devote lots attention to areas of your background ground that are irrelevant or less than positive; you’ll only invite questions about things you don’t want to discuss. 
  2. Write your resume to focus on the skills that will be needed in their new profession, not necessarily on skills they acquired in past positions.

After the employer has determined that you meet the primary qualifications for a position (you’ve passed the keyword scanning test or initial review), your resume becomes all-important important in leading and prompting your interviewer during your conversation.  

Resume tip #6: Visually highlight your accomplishments with consistent structure  

Keep in mind that your resume will be skimmed by hiring managers. Even though you’ve spent hours creating your resume, it will ultimately be read quickly for bold phrases that stand out. Try to make it as easy as possible for readers to grasp the essential facts. 

  • Put job titles, company/organization names, and dates in the same place for each position.  
  • Make job titles bold. 
  • Make information easy to find by clearly defining different sections of your resume with large, highly visible headings. 

Now that you’re ready for our next HRWY event or your next job application, check out our other Texas Veterans benefits:

5 Things Texas Veterans should do when looking for a Civilian Job

When you’re transitioning out of your active duty military role and into civilian life, we know that becoming a veteran can be scary, uncertain territory. You may be wondering, “Can I have a regular job after leaving the military?” “How hard is it to find a job after the military?” or “How can returning Veterans get jobs?”

The good news is that the Texas Workforce Commission has created an incredible program called “Texas Operation: Welcome Home”. This program exists to provide you with everything you need to successfully transition into civilian life. 

Veterans, like yourself, can get help with every aspect of leaving the military. We can help convert your military experience into real work experience, connect you with civilian employers and companies that hire Veterans, assist with resume writing, and so much more. If you’re already interested in connecting with a veteran who can help, email blair.mosely@twc.state.tx.us. If you’re a self-starter, read on! 

5 Things Texas Military Veterans should Do when looking for a Civilian Job 

1. Follow these social media pages for Veteran-only tips 

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) is the best place to find the most recent information from the best sources! These pages often post links to job fairs, military news, civilian life tips, and more! Check out and follow:  

2. Convert your military experience into a degree 

What civilian careers are a good fit for Veterans?  

How do you convert your army, navy, coastal guard, or air force training into the bachelor’s degree you need to start your job? You know you have deep experience in your military field, but how do you get civilian businesses to recognize your accomplishments? How do you convert your experience to fit the requirements of a job description?  

Convert your experience into a degree with our College Credit for Heroes program!  

Get started here →  

3. Use these key tips for a military to civilian resume 

How do you align your military career with civilian credentials? Resume writing can feel tricky, but we can help.  

  1. Include a cover letter. 
    Make sure you have a cover letter that is customized for each employer that you plan to apply with. This should be a heart-felt letter that describes why you are excited to be a great fit for the job. Also, include an example of an experience that helps you connect with this job. Be sure to show how this experience makes you well adjusted and perfect for the position you’re applying for! 
  2. Include your contact information, plus an email address. 
    Providing your email address shows that you’ve adjusted to civilian systems and communication styles. 
  3. Include every promotion. 
    Your promotions are similar to civilian promotions and job changes! Be sure to show off how long you held these positions, and be sure to spell out what you accomplished and what you were responsible for in each rank. 
  4. Include education from before and during your military service. 
    Some employers can understand how your experience translates to a degree, so be sure to include any formal training you took part in! 
  5. Don’t use military lingo or acronyms. 
    Remember, you may have to explain your experience in a way that makes sense to someone outside of the military; pretend you’re talking to your teenage self. 

4. Attend Texas’ largest Veteran job fair 

Each November, 31 locations around Texas host a job fair on one single date that includes 2,100+ Veteran employers who are looking to hire you! Since we’ve started this annual event, businesses have hired over 2,027 Veterans on the spot, and a total of 84,153 Veterans and spouses. 

This is your biggest chance of connecting with the best companies that work with and for ex-military service members! Be sure to bring your resume and dress for success! 

 Find out more about this year’s Hiring Red, White, and You! event here → 

5. Apply at Veteran-friendly companies now 

If you can’t wait until November to land your dream job and begin your career path, check out this list of 100 Businesses in Texas that Hire Veterans or the 2,100 businesses around the state that hire Veterans!  

All of these businesses hire Veterans year round! Check out their websites, look for their career page, and apply for jobs that fit your experience! 

We hope this guide has helped you find your footing! If not, get connected with someone who can help you, 1-on-1! 

100 Businesses that Hire Veterans in Texas

We know how difficult it can be for Texans to find jobs; we also know that it can be much more difficult for veterans to find jobs. That’s why we’ve created the statewide annual veteran job fair Hiring Red, White, and You! Each year in November, over thirty locations around the Texas area host a hiring event for the 967,000 war veterans who are either actively working or looking for jobs.  

Find your closest statewide Hiring Red, White, and You hiring fair location → 

How can vets find jobs when it’s not November? How can returning veterans get jobs during any time in the year? Easy. The Texas Workforce Commission has compiled a list of employers who hire veterans. These employers offer jobs for veterans and care about the mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s heroes. Many of these veteran-friendly employers make it possible for transitioning and transitioned service members to obtain and maintain home loans, health care, and long-term employment! 

So job seekers, what businesses employ and train retired members of the armed forces, air force, and more? Check out our list below. We’ve provided links where applicable to make applying easy! 

100 Businesses that Hire Vets in Texas 

  1. AARP
  2. Academy Sports & Outdoors
  3. Accenture Federal Services
  4. ADP
  5. Aflac
  6. Albertsons/Tom Thumb
  7. Allied Universal
  8. Allstate
  9. Amazon
  10. Applebee’s
  11. Aramark
  12. Army & Air Force Exchange Service
  13. Bank of America 
  14. Bass Pro Shop
  15. BBVA Compass Bank
  16. Bed Bath and Beyond
  17. Boeing
  18. Bridgestone
  19. Burlington Coat Factory
  20. Cabela’s
  21. Cargill 
  22. Caterpillar Inc
  23. Charles Schwab
  24. Cintas
  25. City of Lubbock  
  26. Coca-Cola
  27. Crane Service Inc. 
  28. Crayola
  29. CVS Health
  30. Dell
  31. DHL
  32. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. 
  33. Dow Chemical
  34. Enterprise
  35. Experian
  36. Family Dollar
  37. Farmers Insurance  
  38. FedEx Freight 
  39. FedEx Office 
  40. Frito-Lay/PepsiCo
  41. GameStop, Inc.
  42. GEICO
  43. Gold’s Gym
  44. Goodwill Industries
  45. Grand Canyon University 
  46. H&R Block
  47. HEB
  48. Hilton
  49. Indeed.com
  50. International Paper
  51. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
  52. JCPenney 
  53. JPMorgan Chase
  54. Komatsu
  55. LegalShield / IDShield  
  56. Liberty Mutual
  57. Lowe’s Home Improvement 
  58. McAfee
  59. Midwestern State University
  60. New York Life 
  61. Nokia
  62. Penske Logistics
  63. Pappasito’s Cantina & Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
  64. PepsiCo
  65. Peterbilt Motor Company
  66. Phillips 66 
  67. Prudential
  68. ResCare 
  69. Roto-Rooter
  70. Sanderson Farms
  71. Service King Collision Repair
  72. Seton Healthcare Family
  73. Sheraton
  74. Sitel 
  75. Six Flags
  76. Spectrum
  77. Starbucks
  78. Stripes
  79. Sysco  
  80. Target
  81. Texas Rangers Baseball Club
  82. The Home Depot
  83. Toyota
  84. Troops into Transportation
  85. Troops to Teachers  
  86. TrueGreen 
  87. Tyson Foods 
  88. Union Pacific Railroad
  89. United Airlines
  90. United Health
  91. UPS
  92. US Army 
  93. US Border Patrol 
  94. US Foods
  95. USAA
  96. UTHealth
  97. Valero
  98. Walgreen’s 
  99. Wells Fargo
  100. Xcel Energy

Over 2,100 businesses hire veterans at our Hiring Red, White, and You! event in November. Find out more about this event → 

Note: This is not a complete list of businesses that hire Vets. Businesses on this list have attended one of our annual veteran hiring events. To see a all businesses that hire Veterans in Texas, check out our 2017 Hiring Red, White, and You Employer Attendee List! 

TWC and Kendra Scott Partner to Create Stability for Workers with Disabilities

Anything is Possible with VR Counselors

By Talan Tyminski

Since she founded her company in in 2002, designer, humanitarian and successful entrepreneur, CEO Kendra Scott, whose global company bears her namesake, has operated the business based on her core values—family, fashion and philanthropy. Yet for Nick Hentschel, an Austin based employee, the company means so much more. For Nick, the modern office space and yellow-gold type font also signals stability, a concept that was foreign to him before joining the Kendra family.

Nick Hentschel on the Kendra Scott Distribution Floor

Nick was diagnosed with autism when he was thirty-seven, a late diagnosis that helped provide context to why despite desperately wanting to work, he bounced between jobs since graduating college. Since entering the workforce, Nick had a sense of waiting to be fired from any position he held which left him jumping between offices and at times stressed. Adding to this stress was that due to his disabilities, Nick cannot drive which can make finding and keeping a full-time position in Austin near impossible regardless of a disability.

In 2018, Nick’s mom, worried about her son, shared a heartfelt plea on Facebook with other parents of children living with autism to see if anyone was aware of resources to help Nick find stable employment. Thanks to his mother’s note, Nick met Jennifer Hines. Jennifer is a Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst and a State Neurodevelopmental Program Specialist at the Texas Workforce Commission. Jennifer connected Nick to his Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor BK Hines, who worked to establish a plan for employment.  That led them to Tracy Ray, an Employment Service Provider, and together they developed a game plan to find and support Nick with employment.

Tracy lead the charge. She believed that Kendra Scott would be the perfect place for Nick to grow and find a home due to their focus on family and desire to foster inclusion. She began writing letters to the company’s human resources department to set up an interview.  Kendra Scott responded alerting Tracy to an opening in their South Austin distribution center. The job was perfect; Nick would be following clear cut directions, gathering orders and packaging boxes. The black and white nature of the position eliminated ambiguity and the stress that often comes with problem solving. Tracy worked with Alysa Bolda, a Human Resources Business representative at the Kendra Scott distribution center, to set up the interview as well as make accommodations for the process.

Alysa Bolda, Human Resources, Kendra Scott

“Tracy was the most supportive. She supplied us with articles and suggested that rather than asking Nick to recall experiences we do a hands-on interview,” said Bolda. “We showed him how to make a box, and he showed us how to do it right back.”

Before meeting and working with Nick, Alysa admitted she did not know much about individuals with autism, only what had been portrayed in the media. Tracy’s involvement and preparation for the interview were essential in not only securing Nick the job but helping Alysa and her staff set up accommodations.

At the end of 2018, Kendra Scott hired Nick as a seasonal employee and today he is a full-time employee. This status means that for the first time, Nick has full benefits, something to which he is still getting used.

“To put a twist on an old phrase, when you’re used to unequal treatment, equality feels like an accommodation,” said Nick. “There’s a difference between normalcy and character, and often employers look at people with disabilities in terms of normalcy rather than the quality of their character.”

Nick’s position at Kendra Scott has improved not just his life but the lives of those who interact with him daily. Since starting at the distribution center, Nick has connected with co-workers fostering a sense of empathy and compassion among his peers. One co-worker even went above and beyond to create a visual representation of one of Nick’s job assignments to help him learn.

As a company, Kendra Scott is taking pro-active steps to ensure that all employees feel included. The company’s Human Resources Department has scheduled training with local VR staff from Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services to be sure they are making all the accommodations necessary and are fostering a supportive environment for individuals such as Nick.

The big yellow sign above the floor of the distribution center reads anything is possible. For Nick, joining the Kendra Scott team has truly made anything possible. Nick has gone from worrying about how he is going to make his next rent payment to planning for the future. He wants to go back to school and follow his passion of one day teaching history.

When asked about the company’s commitment to inclusion, Founder and CEO Kendra Scott explained “At Kendra Scott, we are proud to be leading that charge. As disability awareness increases, businesses must adapt to the idea that every one of us is different and may require different needs in the workplace. Our differences open our eyes to new ways of thinking and solving problems and allow us to connect with our customers in a way that leaves them feeling a genuine sense of connection.”

Nick at his work station

Child Care and Early Learning is being reorganized as a full Division within the Texas Workforce Commission

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Effective September 1st, Child Care & Early Learning is being reorganized as a full Division within the Texas Workforce Commission, reporting directly to the Executive Director, Mr. Ed Serna.

The Division will be led by Ms. Reagan Miller.

In this capacity, she will continue to oversee the child care subsidy program, the Texas Rising Star quality rating improvement system, and other child care quality improvement efforts.

A Labor Day Message from the Commissioners of the Texas Workforce Commission

0Photo: Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron S. Demerson, Chairman Bryan Daniel, and Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez.

We are strong, we are Texas, and we are hardworking Americans. We all work hard to earn a living, to move forward in life and to be able to give our family everything they need.

This Labor Day weekend, we at Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) dedicate a special greeting to those who strive every day to give the best to their family – to place food on the table.  You, as working Texans, are the individuals who move the economy of this great state and therefore deserve multiple congratulations.  You are the number one reason new Texas businesses move here every day.

This holiday, TWC recognizes the more than 14 million workers who are the backbone of our strong Texas economy. The state’s economic miracle is directly linked to the innovation and competitiveness of employers in a range of growing industries providing workers with more opportunities to demonstrate their world-class skills. However, that would not be possible without our workers.

A look back in review, this past year has been remarkable for Texas.  The Texas labor market continues to add jobs with the addition of 323,300 positions added between July 2018 and July 2019. Our state’s unemployment rate remained at a historic low of 3.4 percent in July, slightly below the national rate of 3.7 percent. We are laying the foundation for a better tomorrow.

This Labor Day offers us the opportunity to not only celebrate our workers and recognize our employers but also reaffirm our strong commitment to ensuring every Texan has equal opportunity. We take this time to encourage employers to allow us to connect them with workers from diverse and talented populations who are eager to put their skills to work. We can help employers learn the benefits of hiring veterans through programs such as Texas Operation Welcome Home and assist with recruiting, hiring, retaining and accommodating employees with disabilities.

We understand the importance of putting Texans to work. TWC and the state’s 28 local workforce development boards, and over 200 Workforce Solutions offices, partner with local economic development organizations, community colleges and other stakeholders to ensure workers have access to job opportunities and to prepare the growing workforce with the advanced skills needed to allow for continued job growth throughout the state of Texas. Additionally, in order to assist individuals in preparing for career opportunities, the Skills Development Fund and Skills for Small Business programs aim to help employers create new jobs and/or upgrade the skills of their current workforce.

The TWC and Texas Workforce Solutions family are grateful for the contributions that Texas’ workers have made to strengthen and prosper our state. As you enjoy this holiday with family or friends, we thank you for helping to make Texas the best place to live and work!

Bryan Daniel, Chairman, Commissioner Representing the Public

Julian Alvarez, Commissioner Representing Labor

Aaron Demerson, Commissioner Representing Employers

Hope Springs Eternal: New collaborative program in Texas prison gives female inmates opportunities to ‘dwell in possibility’ – and join the industry workforce

By Margaret Hession

Sometimes the best quotes have a special power to inspire us to change our mindset, see things from a fresh perspective, and perhaps propel us into action.

“I dwell in possibility,” said the poet Emily Dickinson. She also stated, “Hope springs eternal.”

At Lockhart Correctional Facility in Lockhart, Texas—a minimum-security prison located in Caldwell County, 32 miles from downtown Austin and better known for its barbecue than its jail—on every wall, along every corridor in the facility, female inmates have painted their favorite inspiring quotes with murals, including quotes by Dickinson.

Lockhart Correctional Facility believes in second chances for its inmates and prepping these females for future work success. It provides many work opportunities, educational and vocational programs to its offenders and is managed by Management & Training Corporation (MTC) who believe in rehabilitation through educational opportunities. Their motto is BIONIC (an acronym for Believe it or not I care).

One of the new pilot programs teaches female inmates trade skills in manufacturing to set them up for employment in industry upon their release into society.

“I was brought in in shackles and released in shackles. Today, for my graduation ceremony, I walked in the front door like everyone else—a free woman, only this time I have a college certificate and an industry certification,” said Casey Brem, 35 of Midland, wiping tears from her face.

Brem is one of 14 students who graduated on August 24, 2019 from the Certified Production Technician program.  She was released early in July, but continued her studies for the program at home and then voluntarily returned to the facility via a 5-hour drive from Midland with her mother to graduate alongside her 13 fellow students.

While completing the course work through ACC, the 14 students also took their national manufacturing certification assessments with a nearly 100% success rate and walked across the stage to receive their diploma from their Engineering Program Instructor, Rosalba Schramm, and Don Tracy, the administrator of ACC correctional educational program.

“This program would not have been made possible without the partnership between Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital (WSRCA), the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and Lockhart Correctional Facility who went above and beyond,” said Tracy, from the podium where he called out each of the inmates by their first name and acknowledged the journey they had taken together.

“It takes partnerships. Meanwhile, these women have worked so tremendously hard,” Tracy continued. “They’ve earned this.”

The training is funded through a Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and utilized existing manufacturing equipment available within the industry program at the facility.

What will happen after graduation? As each participant has a different release date from incarceration after they graduate from the program, they will work closely with TWC Workforce Solutions Rural Capital case managers to review career options with local employers in Hays and Caldwell counties (and other WFS offices across the state) to leverage their certifications.

“It was an honor to help celebrate with these graduates and their families as they accomplished this milestone in their personal and professional lives,” said Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area CEO Paul Fletcher. “This manufacturing certification program came as a result of listening to the workforce needs of our industry partners, and then tapping into our strong community partnerships to deliver training solutions.”

“Today tells us what can be done when thinking outside the box happens with people with big ideas and big hearts,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez, who was the main commencement speaker at the graduation. He received no less than eight standing ovations from the inmates and their families.

“With a 3.4% unemployment rate in Texas, this is precisely the way we become innovative in our thinking and solve a shortage for skilled workers. Everyone deserves a second chance and these hardworking and inspiring women today only reinforce that message in magnitude,” Alvarez continued.

This is the first time ACC and WSRCA has partnered with the staff at the prison to offer a program like this. Nevertheless, it seems likely to be repeated with funding for the second cohort already approved.

Warden Jennifer Brown believes in the program and in its ability to change lives for her inmates.

“We all make mistakes and these are someone’s mother or future mother—someone’s sister or daughter,” said Warden Brown – a female with 27 years in the prison industry who stood up to clap for each of her graduating inmates—and who got her own standing ovation.

“These women deserve every opportunity to become all they can be, improve their circumstances and have a second chance at improving their lives,” Brown continued. “I’m so grateful to The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and others who without their support none of this would be possible,” Brown added.   

If adequate employment, training and certification is a prerequisite for successful re-entry into society for all inmates, then this program has already succeeded.

The inmates believe in the importance of the pilot program although some expressed surprise that females were included in the first ever pilot.  

“I couldn’t believe they would offer this opportunity first to women. They rarely if ever offer things first to women,” said Alison Albanese, 36, of Corpus Christi, during her commencement speech, fighting back tears and drawing tears from all of her cohorts. “We are just so grateful. You don’t know how grateful we are,” Albanese continued.

When asked what she would tell an employer who might be hesitant to hire an ex-offender, fighting back tears, as she held onto her own daughter who came to see her mom walk the stage, Misty Campbell, 46, of Amarillo, stopped thoughtfully, looked at her daughter, and then wiped tears from her eyes.

“They should know that we have to work three times as hard as a non-offender and we know that. We have to work harder to establish that trust more than anyone else does.  We are just happy for the opportunity to be treated like human beings and we will do whatever it takes,” Campbell stated.

“I’m not the same person who walked in here 4 years ago. This certification has built up my confidence. It has given me hope,” Campbell continued. “I’m ready for another chance.  I am stronger this time. I’ll do better.”

Sometimes hope does spring eternal.

To see a KXAN video story of these students please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=oVhZmh9iriQ

200 Incarcerated Students Receive Associates Degrees from the Lee College Huntsville Center

It’s Never Too Late.

Most are familiar with the adage that states, “If you think you can and if you think you can’t, you’re right.” On June 22, 2019, a graduation took place to celebrate those who looked in the mirror and said, “I think I can.”

Thanks to hard work, determination, and a desire to improve their circumstances, nearly 200 incarcerated students (Students) received their Associates Degrees. As part of a collaboration between the Lee College Huntsville Center and the U.S. Department of Education’s Second Chance Pell Initiative, Students were given access to postsecondary courses and have now earned their degrees.

Texas Workforce Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez was invited to the facility to meet the graduates and provide the commencement speech for the ceremony.

A graduating inmate looking to the left with a Nelson Mandela quote that reads, "Education is the most poweful weapon which you can use to change the world."

“A postsecondary degree is a vital step towards finding good paying jobs that lead to financial security,” said Commissioner Alvarez. “I’m proud of the individuals at the Lee College Huntsville Center. We’ve all had obstacles in our lives, some beyond our control, that can be difficult to overcome. I applaud the resolve of these Students as they work to ensure that when the time comes they are properly prepared to find fulfilling careers as part of the thriving Texas workforce.”

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, so prison education programs that provide opportunities for Students to reenter society with the tools for success are essential. With a focus on promoting degrees aimed at creating self-sufficient Students ready to fill high demand jobs, institutions like the Lee College Huntsville Center are not only enriching the lives of their Students but bettering the community around them.

“Education in prison works,” said Dr. Michael Gary, a Professor at Lee College. “If you get your associate degree, the recidivism rate’s about 10 percent—90 percent stay out, 10 percent come back. With no higher education, the recidivism rate’s about 60 percent—you stand a better than 50-50 chance of coming back to prison.”

For these, and future grads, the TWC will be there to support them when they are ready to reenter the workforce. Utilizing a $100,000 Fidelity Bond Grant that will be available on July 1, 2019, the TWC will be able to coordinate with local boards to apply these funds to help at-risk job applicants, such as ex-offenders, get and keep jobs. Through free fidelity bonding, a type of insurance policy that protects the employer against employee acts of dishonesty such as larceny, embezzlement, and theft, the TWC and the Workforce Development Boards can reduce employers’ concerns about hiring at-risk job applicants who cannot be bonded through other sources.

Either the job applicant or the prospective employer can request bonding through any Workforce Solutions office. If the applicant is eligible, bonding coverage is effective immediately following certification or on the applicant’s first day of work once certified.

A rewarding career that provides job security and peace of mind should be available to all Texans no matter their circumstances. Through TWC sponsored Fidelity Bonding and programs like those available at the Lee College Huntsville Center, a historically underserved population is being given the chance to say, “I think I can,” and better their lives through education.

Gig ’em! Texas A&M inspires next generation of STEM students by hosting the 2019 Texas Science and Engineering Fair

For the competitors, it all began as nothing more than an idea, a concept, a dream. Next came the challenging and arduous process of pushing the boundaries of science to turn those ideas into reality. No matter the reason they took that first step, the results were spectacular and on display at the 2019 Texas Science and Engineering Fair (TXSEF) hosted by Texas A&M University.

2019 marked the first year that Texas A&M University hosted the event and on March 30th students arrived in College Station to vie for top prizes in 22 project categories. These future engineers and scientists of Texas presented their work to judges and showcased their commitment to improving the world around them through innovation.

Chair Hughs with TXSEF Officials

“Texas is a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and thanks to the over 1,400 Texas middle and high school students who competed in the 18th Annual Science Fair at Texas A&M University, the future looks bright,” said TWC Chair Ruth R. Hughs. “These students will enter into an increasingly competitive job market with the applied skills in STEM disciplines that are highly coveted by Texas employers. It is important that the state continues to support the next generation by offering them opportunities like the TXSEF where they are provided an amazing platform to demonstrate their tremendous talents.”

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Chair Hughs poses with TXSEF competitors

The projects on display at the event were a reminder of our scientific evolution. There were no erupting volcanoes or bubbling, smoking beakers from a chemistry set. This is the new, modern science fair where helmets control robotic hands, engines are rebuilt to be more efficient, and where you’ll meet students who decided to act when they saw family members with disabilities struggling to do something as simple as visit relatives.

Madison Burke and Anushka Aggarwai, first place winners in the Junior Division for Systems Software, saw the struggles their family members with disabilities were having with everyday travel and developed software to address this. Their program helps people with disabilities travel safer and more efficiently. Young students with a passion and talent for STEM saw a need and acted.

“This event was a tremendous celebration of innovation and we were proud to welcome these young students to Texas A&M University to showcase their creativity,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, Texas A&M Engineering vice chancellor and dean. “Participation at the state-level competition is a significant accomplishment and speaks volumes about the support these students have received from their teachers and schools.”

“The Texas Science and Engineering Fair offers a great opportunity for the youth of Texas to learn more about science and engineering, which can lead to future career choices in these areas,” said Truman Bell, chairman of the TXSEF Advisory Board and manager of community relations for ExxonMobil Corporation. “ExxonMobil is pleased to support this effort which will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

There is a shortage of students pursuing careers in STEM, and while this trend continues to be addressed, on a cold and overcast day in College Station the future of Texas looked positively radiant. Texas, its labor force, and the labor force of the world, is going to have a highly intelligent and enthusiastic group of student leaders entering the workforce with the ideas and passion to shape the future.

TXSEF students and projects

Celebrating Texas’ First-Ever CTE Signing Day

With high school graduation nearing, many students across Texas are considering their next move be it a traditional or non-traditional route that will involve future careers, job prospects, and potential earnings.

For a group of four students from Beaumont, Jaalah Baaheth, Seth Carl, Savanna Mitchell, and

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TWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez with CTE Signing Day Participants

Nick Walker, the decision to continue with their education was met with much celebration and applause from the State Legislature in Austin as well as Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Texas Education Agency and Lamar Institute of Technology. These students took part in the first-ever State of Texas Career and Technical Education (CTE) Signing Day.

The celebration kicked off with Texas State Representative James White reading resolution HR 241 on the House floor declaring March 8th Texas’ CTE Signing Day. After the formal reading, the students joined TWC Commissioners Ruth Hughs, Julian Alvarez, and representatives from Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) for a scholarship signing ceremony and reception held at the Texas Workforce Commission building in Austin, Texas.

“There were so many more people there than I thought would be, and it showed that there were a lot more people behind us,” said Jaalah Baaheth, a Biology student at Lamar Institute of Technology. “[Signing day is] going to push me to study harder because I now know people are depending on me. I know that I can do this because there are a whole bunch of people rooting for me.”

CTE Signing Day, meanwhile, was modeled after traditional athletic signing days to celebrate Career and Technical Education. Each of the students received $3,000, a $2,000 ExxonMobil scholarship and LIT President Dr. Lonnie L. Howard surprised the recipients with a personal $1,000 Presidential scholarship, to attend Lamar Institute of Technology and pursue their chosen career track. Fittingly, the Lamar Institute of Technology (LIT) slogan boasts “Get a degree that works,” and is precisely what these students will do. Apparently, 92.8% of students who attend Lamar Institute of Technology find a career after graduation and the school ranks number one in the state for the most significant salary for graduates among two-year colleges.

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Students at CTE Signing Day

“There was nothing more exciting than CTE signing day for our students, the parents, and our staff. That level of excitement is still there. The word is spreading,” said Lamar Institute of Technology President Dr. Lonnie Howard. “I want to commend Rep. White, Commissioner Alvarez and all of TWC. It was a breathtaking moment for the students and me. It is something that I will not only remember for my professional career but a moment in time that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

LIT focuses on Career and Technical Education programs that offer a sequence of courses that provide students with relevant technical skills and knowledge needed to prepare for further education and careers in high-demand and emerging industries.

“CTE often flies under the radar, but it’s something that needs more attention,” said Seth Carl, CTE signing day participant studying business. “[This scholarship] is definitely a head start and it will help me better prepare for a future career.”

All the while, demand for highly skilled workers continues to grow across Texas even though the narrative taught to students in classrooms across the state places a higher value on traditional four-year degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2012 and 2022 there will be 50,557,900 jobs openings for CTE graduates in 16 different career clusters. CTE Signing Day aims to encourage students to take the less traditional route and consider their job prospects and future earnings.

“It’s really easy to feel pressured to go to a four-year school,” said Savanna Mitchell, Scholarship Recipient studying for her 30-hour OSHA certification which has a projected annual earnings of $72,000. “My Mom and I talked about my options and how there were more opportunities for me at a two-year school than there were at a traditional four-year. Other students should focus on their own personal requirements and desires when deciding what is best for them.”

As Jaalah, Seth, Savanna and Nick gear up for high school graduation and their new career paths, the Texas Workforce Commission continues the celebration, working to expand CTE Signing Day across the state. By sparking enthusiasm for CTE programs and the students choosing to attend them, Texas can come one step closer to meeting industry demands for highly skilled workers. “I want to thank you for sharing this day and for being a wonderful example of what our workforce has to offer,” said Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “Your hard work and dedication will be recognized by our leading Texas industries.”

CTE Signing Day supports the goals of the Tri-Agency by recognizing the important role that Career and Technical Education curriculum provides in ensuring a skilled future workforce. For more information visit regarding CTE signing day: https://twc.texas.gov/news/lamar-institute-technology-joins-twc-recognizing-students-texas-first-ever-cte-signing-day-ceremony