Inaugural Graduating Class Moves from Innovative High School Training Program into Careers with HHSC

News Release
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
July 21, 2021
Helena Wright-Jones, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – Houston-area high school graduates from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s new partnership pilot program, Texas Works Path to Success (TWPS), are launching their careers with HHSC. The pilot program offers job training and career opportunities to high school seniors who are guaranteed a job after they successfully complete the program and graduate high school.

“This program offers more than just a job; it offers a career. We’re teaching young adults the job skills to solidify their place within the HHSC family and guide them toward a promising future” said Wayne Salter, HHS deputy executive commissioner for Access and Eligibility Services. “We all share in these students’ excitement as they begin their career journey with us.”

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, Goodwill Industries of Houston, Houston Independent School District and Texans Can Academies, the program equips low-income high school seniors with job skills training necessary for work as a Texas Works Advisor I in a Houston-area eligibility office for health and human services programs. These new staff members help connect Texans to services like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid.

HHSC and its partners offered the program to seniors at three Houston ISD campuses — Phillis Wheatley, Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation and Worthing Early College high schools, as well as one Texans Can Academies campus, Houston Southwest. There were 22 graduates of the program for the 2020-2021 school year, and 17 are now employed with HHSC.

“The TWPS/HHSC High School Pilot Program provides phenomenal skills training and a very unique employment opportunity for our scholars,” said Tabitha Davis, Sterling High School principal. “This program is incredibly beneficial, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with TWPS and HHSC.”

TWPS helps participants learn practical job skills, achieve financial stability and self-reliance and guarantees a job for students after they successfully complete the program and graduate from high school.

The goal of TWPS is to reduce the impact of situational and generational poverty by increasing participants’ economic self-reliance, housing stability and educational advancement. This program allows participants to build a brighter future for themselves, family and community, as well as have a full-time career with personal and professional growth opportunities.

New video is available, including produced video of the project, downloadable video sound bites from TWPS graduates and HHS Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter, b-roll and photos of the graduation ceremony.

For more information, visit the Texas Works Path to Success webpage.