Texas: Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative Aims To Meet 21st Century Job Needs

By Shana Daley
From the March/April 2016 Issue

Gov. Greg Abbott recently established the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative to assess local economic activity, examine workforce challenges and opportunities, and consider innovative approaches to meeting the state’s workforce goals. The Initiative will be spearheaded by TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, THECB Commissioner Raymond Paredes and TWC Commissioner Andres Alcantar, who will embark on a series of statewide Regional Education and Workforce meetings and will report back with their findings and recommendations.

Texas Business Report
Texas Business Report

“Understanding the needs of job creators is paramount to ensuring that Texas remains the top state for business expansion and relocation,” said Gov. Abbott. “This past session, we made economic strides by investing in our workforce and further reducing taxes and regulations. By establishing this initiative, the State of Texas now seeks to ensure that the needs of both its growing workforce as well as new and existing businesses are met and each are prepared to successfully operate in an ever-changing 21st century economy.”

Gov. Abbott has called upon the Commissioners to identify and advance public and higher education initiatives that make college more affordable for families and help students enter the workforce more quickly with marketable skills. The Commissioners will work with industry and local stakeholders to assess local workforce needs and identify innovative workforce development models that directly coordinate with industry partners and promote post-secondary success. The Commissioners should include career and technical education (CTE) and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education models in their assessment.

The Commissioners will evaluate current agency efforts, as well as state and local web-based education and career awareness systems in an effort to better link students, parents, and educators to the broad array of high-demand jobs in this state and the educational requirements to secure those opportunities. Gaps in services to Texas veterans will be identified, and strategies will be advanced to enhance their education and employment opportunities; solutions will be developed to ensure a seamless and accelerated transition back into the Texas workforce.

The Commissioners are tasked with making recommendations that build the skills of the Texas workforce and advance regional economic expansion, job creation and the goals of 60x30TX.


McKesson Corp. will consolidate and expand its operations in the Dallas metro area and open a new regional office in Irving, TX. McKesson’s expansion is projected to create at least 975 new jobs and $157 million in capital investment. A Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant offer of $9.75 million has been extended to McKesson Corp., the largest TEF award offer made by Gov. Greg Abbott to date.

“I am proud that McKesson has chosen to expand their operations in the Lone Star State and create hundreds of new jobs,” said Gov. Abbott. “This expansion is yet another testament to the power of Texas’ low-tax, low-regulation economic climate that continues to attract industry leaders, innovators, and job creators from around the globe. I am confident McKesson’s outstanding leadership in the pharmaceutical and healthcare technology sectors will serve as an invaluable contribution to the Texas economy.”

“After a thoughtful and thorough selection process, we’re excited to consolidate our Dallas-area offices into a new, state-of-the-art facility in Irving, Texas,” said David Evangelista, senior vice president and general manager of McKesson Financial Center. “Investing in this new, modern workspace will enable our associates to more effectively serve McKesson customers in the evolving healthcare industry.”

The City of Irving and the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Office of the Governor to facilitate state and local support for McKesson’s expansion.

“The City of Irving is thrilled the McKesson Corporation has chosen Irving as its new regional home. We are honored to add another highly-regarded corporate powerhouse to our distinguished and growing list of business partners,” said Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne. “We are certain McKesson will find Irving to be a dynamic city that provides signature facilities, quality of life amenities and a deep and sophisticated pool of employee talent.”

“We’re proud to welcome McKesson, a FORTUNE 11 company, home to Irving, Texas,” said Beth Bowman, president/CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. “McKesson’s selection of our community (as part of a five-state search) for its regional headquarters marks one of North Texas region’s single-largest corporate commitments in 2016, as well as Irving’s largest real estate deal in the last decade. McKesson will immediately become one of Irving’s largest employers, bringing an estimated $4.7 Billion in total economic activity over the next decade, while continuing the incredible momentum that Irving-Las Colinas has experienced during the past two years.”

McKesson is purchasing an existing 525,000-square-foot office building in Irving, TX as the location for its latest expansion. The roles at the Irving facility will primarily include information technology, finance and accounting, administration and support, purchasing, and project management positions. The Irving facility will be in addition to McKesson’s specialty pharmaceutical business that is headquarter in The Woodlands, TX.

San Francisco-based McKesson, currently ranked 11th on the Fortune 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. The company partners with payers, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. McKesson helps its customers improve their financial, operational, and clinical performance with solutions that include pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management, healthcare information technology, and business and clinical services. McKesson currently has over 70,000 employees worldwide, with more than 3,700 employees at multiple locations throughout Texas.


The Hitchcock (TX) Industrial Development Corporation and the Galveston County Economic Development Division in association with the Greater Houston Partnership recently announced the successful recruitment of RedGuard to the historic Blimp Base Industrial Park in Hitchcock.

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Six tall pillars are what remains of the historic blimp hangar in Hitchcock, TX, now being developed into the Blimp Base Industrial Park. RedGuard, a manufacturer of blast-resistant modular buildings, is opening a new facility at the park.

At full operation, RedGuard expects to employ over 50 individuals in a variety of technical and support positions through the new Hitchcock location.

“We are excited and honored that RedGuard has selected Hitchcock as the location for its new facility,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said. “As the newest member of our growing industrial family, we look forward to a long and rewarding partnership.”

RedGuard manufactures blast resistant modular buildings for the petrochemical industry and is the leading authority in blast resistance. RedGuard provides safe, customizable and scalable modular buildings for a variety of industrial settings. The Wichita, KS-based company has annual revenues exceeding $50 million annually and looks forward to expanding their customer base from their new Hitchcock location.

Galveston County Director of Economic Development, Dr. C. B. “Bix” Rathburn said the site for the new facility on FM 2004 in Hitchcock was chosen by RedGuard because of its strategic location, which is close to over $50 billion in industry expansion projects that are currently underway. The location also provides access to the industrial and petrochemical corridors between Freeport, Texas City and the Houston Ship Channel.

“RedGuard is the perfect fit for Hitchcock and the new Hitchcock Industrial 2004 Corridor,” Rathburn said. “Hitchcock provides reasonably priced land that is strategically located near the rapidly expanding petrochemical industry and progressive city leadership willing to partner with business and industry for mutual benefit.”

RedGuard President Darren Hillman and Greater Houston Partnership Chief Economic Development Officer Bob Pertierra echoed those sentiments.

“We could see the benefits of the Hitchcock site providing a centralized hub for most of our Industrial partners,” Hillman said. “We will be able to service our Texas Gulf Coast region more efficiently and effectively from this strategically chosen location.”

“We are pleased to join Hitchcock and Galveston County in welcoming RedGuard to the Houston Region,” Pertierra said. “RedGuard will complement our position as one of the top manufacturing centers in America.”

The Hitchcock location was selected in May 2015 after a national site selection process lead by the Next Move Group, a New Orleans based site selecting firm led by CEO Chad Chancellor. Chancellor said he immediately became interested in the historic Blimp Base property in Hitchcock after working with such a professional team.

RedGuard anticipates beginning operation of their new facility in Hitchcock immediately.