In corpus Christi Around 200 community officials, educators, parents and students came together at the American Bank Center to examine local data and identify what is working and where challenges remain in the area's efforts to prepare young people for success in and out of school. The event was held on Tuesday Oct. 14 when the Texas Workforce commission addressed the attendees in what they called the GradNation Community Summit.

The GradNation Community Summit, Ready for College and Career Conference, also served as a launching pad for the development of multi-year community action plan. The plan outlines how the Coastal Bend will accelerate efforts to raise the high school graduation rate to 90 percent by the class of 2020.

Texas Workforce Commission Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade and TWC Commissioner Representing labor Ronny Congleton helped to provide a statewide perspective to the Summit. The plan also included a series of metrics and a process for evaluating progress.

"We should continue to strengthen the conversation between our teachers, business leaders, parents, and students so they can have all the facts they need to make informed choices regarding education and careers," Andrade said. "Our students need to know about the great jobs available right in their community and what it takes to get those jobs."

Commissioner Congleton agreed with this point and said one of the best ways to get one of those jobs is through an apprenticeship. "apprenticeship is the best kept secret in career training," Congleton said. "Apprenticeship combines class study with on-the-job training. Apprentices make good money while learning, and when they finish, they have a solid career that cannot be outsourced. Jobs for electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and ironworkers - these jobs cannot be outsourced. That is ultimate job security - you have a job for life."

The Summit is part of 100 events that will take place around the country over the next four years. The summits are co-sponsored by America's Promise Alliance as part of the GradNation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.