Partnerships for Progress: Reagan ECHS Career Launch Recognized as Statewide Model Program

AISD, ACC and Dell Technologies collaborate to prepare students for in-demand tech jobs

In recognition of its efforts to prepare students for Texas workforce needs, Reagan Early College High School Career Launch has been named one of three Industry Cluster Innovative Academy Models in Texas.

“Our mission in Austin ISD is focused on preparing students for college, career and life,” Superintendent Paul Cruz said. “We are thankful to Gov. Abbott and the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative for recognizing our hard work and partnerships to support not only student success, but also the success of our partners in the business community.”

The Career Launch information technologies program is a partnership among AISD, Austin Community College and Dell Technologies. The program creates a six-year education experience designed to prepare students entering the technology field. Career Launch students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree and are connected with professional mentors and internship opportunities.

“This is truly a collaborative effort. These academies represent real opportunities to break down barriers and open new pathways for student success,” ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes said. “Together, we’re changing how students and their families think about their future.”

Designed by global architecture firm Perkins+Will, the Reagan Career Launch center features flexible and interactive spaces that can adapt to meet the changing needs of hands-on technology learning. As part of the partnership with Dell, the center features advanced technology not previously available to students.

“The U.S. is on track to have 1.1 million computing-related job openings by 2024, yet based on current national graduation rates, only 45 percent of these jobs are likely to be filled,” said Dell Chief Customer Officer Karen Quintos. “Preparing the next generation—particularly youth from underserved communities—with tech skills is critical in an increasingly all-digital world.”

Reagan ECHS Career Launch began as part of Texas Industry Cluster Innovative Academies, created by Gov. Greg Abbott, to establish innovative programs that lead to direct employment in high-demand occupations. Industry Cluster Innovative Academies is part of the governor’s Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative—consisting of the Texas Education Agency, Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board—to meet workforce needs.

Eighteen programs received grant funding to support education in four industry clusters: biotechnology and life sciences, advanced technologies and manufacturing, information and computer technology and petroleum refining and chemical products.

Austin ISD received two of the 19 grants to create two Career Launch programs. The LBJ Early College High School Career Launch program was built in partnership with Seton Healthcare and Austin Community College, and focuses on biotechnology and life sciences.

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