The Commissioners should explore and recommend options for increasing economic activity in rural Texas, including innovative collaborations among employers, institutions, and rural communities, and easing of regulatory burdens that may inhibit economic growth and collaboration. The Commissioners should also explore ways for businesses, school districts, and institutions of higher education to partner together to offer expanded educational options to employees and their children, and to strengthen educational and workforce programs across the state.
To strengthen regional partnerships in Texas, a number of strategies have been identified related to rural economic development and workplace educational opportunities. The Tri-Agency partners continuously explore ways to encourage economic growth in all communities, including rural communities, throughout Texas. The best opportunities for economic growth occur when stakeholders work together as partners to strengthen education and workforce programs within their communities and regions. When considering this charge, the Tri-Agency partners are well aware of the many times stakeholders come together for in-person and virtual meetings. These gatherings, large or small, can be very important for developing common goals and forming partnerships. One challenge for those who take part in these gatherings is that they are often asked to attend multiple meetings and to take part in the same conversations. As a result, fatigue sets in, and once-robust partnerships lose their momentum. Another challenge is the absence of voices that could greatly inform a new initiative or program. Those who have the greatest insights or new perspectives are often absent.
As we continue this work, the Tri-Agency partners see the need to alleviate the demands and constraints often associated with bringing groups of people together—whether locally, regionally, or statewide. As we promote and support the formation of partnerships, we recognize that the best partnerships are those that are formed and sustained at the local level. Going forward, we will challenge ourselves and others to build partnerships in a new light: to make exceptional use of our limited time together, seek out new partners, welcome new perspectives, and find innovative solutions that leverage new technologies.