Business leaders call for early childhood education to address growing skills gap

Jobs are going unfilled – and Texans are out of work – because there’s a “skills gap” between job seekers and job qualifications, business leaders said in Tyler on Thursday.

At a press conference held Thursday at the Genesis Group offices, Genesis CEO Phil Burks, Tyler Economic Development Council CEO Tom Mullins and former Tyler Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bob Westbrook discussed the gap and said there’s a solution – early childhood education.

“The fastest growing industry segment this decade is oil and gas, and those jobs all need post-secondary training,” Burks said. “But we know that 11 percent of all high school students fail to graduate on time. We need to find ways to fix that. That’s the problem in a nutshell. We have a gap and we need to fix it.”

The group is calling on the Legislature to increase funding – or at least to refrain from cutting funds – for early childhood education in public schools.

“There are many ways to tackle a problem, and one of the most effective is early childhood education,” Westbrook explained. “We need to focus on pre-reading, pre-math, learning to count, and critical social skills. That old adage that you learn everything you need to know in life when you’re in kindergarten is true. As a business owner, I know these programs produce a stronger and healthier workforce. We either make the investment now or make the investment later.”

Click here to read Roy Maynard’s entire article from the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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