AUSTIN – Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. (Magnolia) was appointed to the Select Committee on Health Care Education and Training yesterday, which will focus on preparing more Texans for careers in the state’s growing health sector.

Chaired by Rep. Susan King, committee members will assess the demand for health professionals across the state. They will also examine ways to better align public schools, as well as colleges and universities, with the needs of health care employers.

“It is an honor to be appointed to this committee,” said Rep. Bell. “Last session I carried a bill that expanded career and technical opportunities for Texas high school students. I look forward to continuing that effort with my colleagues as we address one of Texas’s most important issues: quality of life.”

Last year, the Legislature approved House Bill 5, which encourages high schools and colleges to work more closely with industry to prepare students for workplace success. The Committee on Health Care Education and Training will continue that legislation’s emphasis on workforce readiness.

Texas faces severe shortages in the health sector. Of the state’s 254 counties, 177 were designated all or partial Health Professional Shortage Areas this year by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. And 207 counties were named shortage areas for mental health services. Many of the jobs that see persistent shortages do not require four-year college degrees.

In addition, Texas hospitals experience higher vacancy and turnover rates for nurses than similar states. Such rates are even higher in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Select Committee Interim Charge

The committee will assess the statewide demand for health professionals, including in the area of mental health. It will also make recommendations to better align institutions of public and higher education with the needs of health care employers. These recommendations will provide guidance as the Legislature seeks to strengthen the state’s health care workforce, which will lead to better care for patients and better career opportunities for many Texans.