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Verizon Foundation Grants $154,000 to Texas Business and Education Coalition for Business-To-Teaching Initiative

Published 02-14-02

Submitted by Verizon Communications

The Verizon Foundation has granted $154,000 to the Texas Business and Education Coalition ("TBEC") to create the "Business-To-Teaching" initiative, whereby displaced employees and retirees from the workplace will be encouraged to pursue a career in teaching, particularly in math and science fields, in Texas public schools.

TBEC, a nonprofit organization of business executives and education leaders working together to improve public education in Texas, will create the "Business-To-Teaching" initiative in partnership with Texas universities, which have colleges of education. Initially, TBEC will work with the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Houston to pilot this project.

Key components of the initiative include:

-- Encourage Texas businesses to make departing employees aware of teaching opportunities in Texas schools during exit interviews;
-- Establish a referral location where displaced workers or retirees can get more information to ready themselves to become teachers;
-- Implement an educational plan at the cooperating university consistent with state teacher certification policy for the those pursuing a career in teaching;
-- Match prospective teachers with appropriate school districts;
-- Facilitate agreements with school districts, which agree to hire identified workers, once certain training conditions are met;
-- Develop individual training/education plans for workers who have made a connection with a school district; and
-- Support workers, who pursue the training and education for entering the teaching field, to ensure a successful transition and retention.

Commenting on the new initiative, John H. Stevens, TBEC executive director, said, "Texas is facing a teacher shortage of critical proportions. There are not nearly enough students studying math and science education in our colleges and universities to fill vacancies created by teacher retirements. Currently, there are less than 20 students in college right now preparing to be physics teachers. At the same time schools are facing these personnel shortages, businesses are releasing knowledgeable personnel from the workforce. Many of these retirees or former employees have experience in the subjects where the teacher shortages are the greatest. Thanks to this grant from the Verizon Foundation, we can facilitate the transition from the workplace to the classroom for those who seek the rewarding career of preparing our schoolchildren for success in college, work or the military."

TBEC, formed in 1989, encourages high school students to take more rigorous courses so they have more option upon graduation; recognizes Texas' best schools through its annual Honor Roll; provides counsel to schools on curriculum; and advocates for changes in state law and education policy and stimulating community-based school improvement initiatives.

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