Abilene must continue to be a leader in the State of Texas in developing the key infrastructure to attract, grow, and retain quality jobs. We will do this by having innovative programs to offer new businesses and industries, programs to encourage existing businesses to retain and expand workforces, programs that tie education to workforce needs, and tax structures that do not stand as barriers to economic development but create a pro-business environment.

  • Support innovative and flexible career and technology education pathways in conjunction with public schools and community colleges, where appropriate, to meet the needs of Texas employers.

  • Support legislative efforts to provide incentives to encourage business participation in education and workforce development initiatives.

  • Support access to quality and affordable childcare.

  • Support measures that give school districts the financial flexibility to meet the needs of their students.

  • Support investment in rural Texas, including growing our state’s broadband infrastructure.

  • Support efforts to expand access to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) in K-12 grades and offer rigorous high school STEAM courses, including computer coding. Support teacher advancement initiatives, like differentiated pay, to help alleviate the shortage of STEAM teachers in our public schools. The Abilene Chamber recognizes the extreme importance of access to STEAM courses for the quality of education now and for our workforce in the future.

  • Support legislation that strengthens accountability on career and technology money allocation. Support requiring districts that receive funding for career and technology to offer courses that prepare students with a blend of on-site or virtual on-site training, based on their needs of curriculum delivery. Support increased funding for online curriculum and online testing.

  • Support industry-aligned early college models, like Industry Cluster Innovative Academies including P-TECH, that include career guidance, mentoring, and applied learning opportunities.

  • Community colleges should be supported in maximizing the use of dual-credit courses and other creative partnerships with high schools and four-year universities. The Texas State Technical College System, with its effective pay-for-performance model, is worthy of support and replication in other systems.

  • Support state-appropriated economic development funds for rural areas. Also, support the Texas Agriculture Finance Authority (TAFA) at its current funding level to finance economic development activities in rural areas and streamline TAFA to make it more “user-friendly.”

  • Support the production of adequate supplies of all forms of energy at competitive prices.

  • Support legislation that would give economic developers a wide range of tools to use to enhance efforts to attract new businesses and industries and to encourage retention and expansion of existing firms.

  • Support continued use of a locally approved ½-cent sales tax collected by cities to fund economic development efforts.

  • Oppose efforts to reduce local control of these funds or efforts to limit the uses of these funds. Because these funds are local funds, taxpayers should retain the right to manage their use so long as they are used for local economic development purposes.

  • Support efforts to clarify that the purpose of the sales tax funds is to serve as economic development tools, including education and workforce training.

  • Support TEXAS 2050: A Framework for Long-Term Economic Growth in order to continue the level of economic development success that Texas has had in recent years. The plan, developed and endorsed by a broad range of statewide business groups, includes taking a long-term view of human capital, investment capital, innovation, education, tools to compete and infrastructure.

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