POSTED: Friday, December 26, 2008 - 4:36am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:00am
EAST TEXAS—The snapshot of the ailing economy became more apparent last month when almost half a million Americans lost their jobs.
East Texas saw a fair share of cuts as well.
As a result, statistics show a record number of people are turning to minimum wage jobs.
President of Tyler's Economic Development Council, Tom Mullins, says tough financial times make education harder to afford. Mullins says that's part of an even bigger problem facing East Texas.
"East Texas has the lowest percentage of people with college degrees in any part of the state," says Mullins.
State projections show the population doubling over the next 40 years. Mullins says that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the state to encourage the population to be educated and to be able to compete for future jobs. Additionally, he says about 70 percent of the jobs created in East Texas over the next 40 years will require training or education beyond high school.
Without that specialized education, Mullins say East Texas won't be a competitive workforce and therefore, won't attract new jobs.
"We can say we have a lot of labor, but they don't have any skills or training, they're not prepared to take the new age jobs...It's a huge challenge for our area," says Mullins.