Five initiatives are linked to our long-term goals, and requests in these areas receive priority emphasis in the review process.
The changing economic landscape requires a shift in the kind of preparation offered to connect Texans to jobs, career paths, livable wages, and economic and social mobility. By 2030, 60% of the Texas workforce will need a postsecondary credential to be gainfully employed, a driving factor for the state’s higher education plan. We aim to ensure that awarded postsecondary degrees, credentials, and certificates align to real-time labor needs, are affordable for all Texans, and offer value to students and society. We are working with our partners to increase postsecondary completion rates beyond current projections to meet current and future workforce demands.
Quality teachers are consistently identified as the most important school-based factor in student achievement. On average, a high-performing teacher increases student learning by 50% more than expected growth over the course of a school year. Texas has hundreds of educator preparation programs of varying quality and varying levels of accessibility to aspiring teachers. The teacher pipeline must be robust to meet the needs of a growing state with an increasingly diverse student population. We are working with our partners to define, build, and scale models of high-quality educator preparation.
Texas has grown rapidly, and the state’s population is projected to expand by 70% from 2020 to 2070. While this growth can fuel robust economic development, ensuring the vitality of Texas’ cities, industries, and agriculture while also protecting natural resources will require careful water management. As water demand increases, state water supplies will drop by 18%. The state water plan suggests that water conservation strategies could meet 30% of future water demand.
While conservation success can be determined in part by policies, everyday water users are the conservation decision makers, and how they value water is the most crucial element of achieving an overall demand reduction. We are working with our partners to increase public awareness and support projects that advance water conservation across the state.
Depression is the most common mental illness in the U.S. In North Texas alone, 300,000 adults and children experience depression annually. We know that treatment works: two-thirds of individuals who receive evidence-based, measurement-based care get better. However, less than one in 10 receive this type of care.
With appropriate training and support, primary care physicians can screen, identify, and provide effective behavioral health treatment and referrals to their patients, which could fill this gap in care. In fact, at least 80% of individuals diagnosed with depression can be treated by their primary care physician. We are working with our partners to integrate evidence-based practices into primary and other care settings so that more people in North Texas can be diagnosed and treated for depression.
More than 4,000 individuals experience homelessness every year in Dallas and Collin counties. The majority of the 2,000 beds in Dallas shelters are full every night, and the median gross monthly rent of $950 is unaffordable to homeless and low-income residents. Access to adequate housing is a human right that provides the safety needed to survive and the stability needed to thrive. We are working with our partners to make homelessness in Dallas and Collin counties rare, brief, and nonrecurring.