The Dallas economy is booming and companies are relocating to North Texas seemingly every day. But throughout the region, businesses are facing real shortages of skilled, career-ready job candidates. To combat this problem, the University of North Texas at Dallas and YTexas, a consortium of forward-focused chief executives, have partnered to create a unique mentoring and networking program for UNT Dallas students.
The initial YTexas Leadership Academy launches at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 22, with a luncheon on the UNT Dallas campus. Some three dozen executives representing a diverse group of companies in the Dallas area, such as Ryan, LLC, Kubota, U.S. Concrete, WeWork, Topgolf and Baylor Scott & White, will meet with UNT Dallas students interested in becoming a member of the inaugural cohort that will begin the program this semester.
Eligible students will have enrolled at UNT Dallas through the Dallas County Promise, an innovative partnership that affords high school seniors at 43 Dallas County high schools the opportunity to first earn an associate degree tuition-free, and then pursue a bachelor’s degree tuition-free at UNT Dallas, the only four-year university in the City of Dallas. YTexas will donate $25,000 annually to the UNT Dallas Foundation to be used to fund Dallas County Promise students at UNT Dallas.
“The YTexas Leadership Program will provide our ambitious students with an invaluable edge once they leave our campus to begin their careers,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said.
The YTexas Leadership Academy will involve 50 Dallas-area CEOs in seeking solutions to the challenge of expanding the pool of career-ready, “homegrown” job candidates by providing real-life work experience for students so they can make informed decisions about aligning their skills and interests with a specific career. The program will also provide students with a professional networking system to utilize post-graduation.
Throughout the semester, UNT Dallas students selected to participate in the Leadership Academy will meet with various executives at their workplaces and at other business and work settings, as well as on campus to gain first-hand knowledge of how company leaders – and their businesses -- operate on a daily basis.
"As we continue to progress and implement more technology into our business and our products, the demand for talented and skillful workers will increase,” Kubota Tractor Corporation President & CEO Haruyuki “Harry” Yoshida said. “Kubota will continue to support community partnerships designed to train area youth and ready them for the jobs of tomorrow. We welcome the opportunity to be part of these efforts through job creation, internship opportunities and continued mentorship."
YTexas’ goal is to see the UNT Dallas Class of 2019 be the first of many cohorts to be scaled around the state. The program includes a 10-point plan to leadership success, dedicating time to honing skills as simple as dinner-table etiquette to a comprehensive understanding of regional economies across the state.
“Our program will be a comprehensive plan that focuses on the soft skills and personal connections needed to afford these students the opportunity to grow out of the middle-skilled arena and into leadership roles,” YTexas CEO Ed Curtis said. “What makes our program special is the involvement of companies of all sizes from a variety of industry sectors, from startup companies to Fortune 500.”