This video from Vice News Tonight on HBO explains what life is like in West Texas right now. This is the competition we face as educators. Unfortunately, I can only provide a link to the video here. West Texas Economy – Oil Boom.
According to the video, this region of Texas is experiencing an unemployment rate of almost 0%, with more than 20,000 jobs available. Yes… if you can’t find a job here, you have not looked. But this means that we are experiencing a huge influx of people from all over the world. The housing industry cannot keep up with the growth,resulting in a housing deficit approaching 40,000 housing units.
Young people are lured away from their pursuit of higher education by lucrative jobs in the oil and gas industry, where they can earn more than $100,000 in a year with minimal skills and no education. Schools are overcrowded and low performing. Educators are difficult to attract because the academic world cannot keep up with the rapidly increasing cost of living. The service industry in general suffers; the oil boom causes strain on health and medical care infrastructures, and on the community infrastructure in general. Housing is in short supply, and when it is available it is too costly for someone who earns a teacher’s salary, with median home costs reported at around $350,000.
Blum, J. (2018). Companies needing Permian workers find West Texas a hard sell. Houston Chronicle 2018:06:01. Retrieved from https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Companies-needing-Permian-workers-find-West-12960385.php