Texas business leaders launch education and career portal

Users of the Texas site can access information on 109 institutions, with 3,200 different combinations of courses.   File image

Business and state leaders in Texas have launched a plan to help high school students and adult learners make the best choice of college and career.

Launch My Career is a joint venture by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Texas Association of Business, USA Funds and College Measures. The site, LaunchMyCareertx.org, identifies in demand job and the best programs to prepare students for them, compares projected earnings to the financial investment needed, and analyzes the earnings potential. It also helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies different careers and courses of study.

Aaron Cox, vice president of chamber relations at the Texas Association of Business, said the specific target market are those individuals entering high school and adult learners who may be considering a career change.

Launch My Career is able to evaluate what major they want, what schools are offering offer, what cost will look like, the return on investment, and “what earnings over time vs. high school diploma,” Cox told the Higher Education Tribune. “The satisfaction ratings of people that have gone through the courses is also included on the site. There is also statewide data from the actual institutions, reports that they make.”

Other partners in the venture include Gallup Inc., Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes, the Austin Chamber of Commerce, and other higher education stakeholders. It was launched this month in Austin during the Texas Association of Business Higher Education Conference.

“As representatives of the business community, it is imperative to help citizens, not just the job but the type of lifestyle they want to live,” Cox said.

One unique element, according to the organizers, is a tool focusing on well-being data, highlighting personal and job satisfaction for graduates from different majors and fields of study. Other features include a lifestyle goal calculator, showing the number of years it will take for the salary from a particular occupation to meet a user’s lifestyle goals, and a “break-even calculator” that demonstrates the numbers of years it will take for earnings to exceed the total cost of a particular degree.

“The educational decisions our students make create a ripple effect, influencing far more than simply the student’s future,” Bill Hammond, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business, said in a statement following the launch. “Their decisions shape the ability of our state to thrive and compete economically for good jobs. That’s why LaunchMyCareerTX is essential to college planning. It is uniquely positioned to help Texas’ students determine what path is right for them based on their personal goals and career aspirations. When students succeed, it means a better-prepared and more-qualified workforce for Texas in the future.”

Texas is the third state to offer the new college comparison tool, following Colorado and Tennessee. Users of the Texas site can access information on 109 institutions, with 3,200 different combinations of courses.

“These tools help answer three pressing questions students commonly have," Mark Schneider, president of College Measures, a division of American Institutes for Research said. "How can what I study help me find a job? How will I be able to achieve my desired lifestyle goals? and Which majors lead to good job satisfaction and personal fulfillment?"

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