Little more than a generation ago, the modern technological age was born.
That year--1969--we proved two things: we could put a man on the moon, and the Internet could work. While one development took us farther away, the other brought us closer together.
Technology is changing our world. I don't mean simply that we have Palm Pilots today instead of desk calendars. The real change in our lives has been the rise of the knowledge worker.
With the Internet, people are now connecting instantaneously to vast amounts of information. The power of our modern economy is based on our ability to use that information. That gives me optimism and hope for the future, because we all have the opportunity to plug into this new economy.
However, if current trends continue, nearly 60 percent of all Texans will only have a high school education or less by the year 2030. Yet, one quarter of the state's new positions will require a college degree at a minimum. If we do not raise the level of educational attainment of all Texans, the future workforce of Texas will earn lower wages than the current workforce. Therefore, in terms of workforce development, nothing is more important than education.
Education is not limited to earning a college degree. Courses that keep you up-to-date in your job are essential. For example, you'll note in this issue of Statement that we are offering a required course for Appraisal Review Board members.
This generation must compete not only with those from New York and California but Europe and Asia as well. That is why developing a better-educated workforce tops my priority list.
In fact, my e-Texas commission--a citizen commission charged with developing recommendations to help Texas state government meet the challenges of the Internet age--includes a task force on workforce development.
CAROLE KEETON RYLANDER
Comptroller of Public Accounts