Prior to the implementation of the Manpower Development Training Act (MDTA) and the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) in 1962 and the Vocational Training Act of 1963, the Vocational Division of the Texas Education Agency was composed of four major and two minor departments under the direction of Assistant Commissioner for Vocational Education, M. A. Browning. Those departments were: Agriculture, Distributive Education, Homemaking Education, Industrial Education, Civil Defense, and Veterans’ Training.
A new department was added to administer the MDTA and NDEA programs. When the Vocational Education Act was implemented, the technical-vocational programs offered by junior colleges were assigned to the new department under the direction of Henry Chitsey. The new department was named “Technical Education and Manpower Development and Training”. Another department, Office Occupations, was also created at this same time.
Due to the growth of the junior college programs, a new position was added to Mr. Browning’s staff to work with these colleges. John Guemple, Vocational-Technical Dean at Lee College, was selected for the new position. When Mr. Browning went to the Regional office in early 1966, Mr. Guemple became the new Assistant Commissioner for Vocational Education. Joe Godsey, who had been employed as a consultant in the department of Technical Education and Manpower Development, was reassigned to become the Director of Junior College Vocational Program Development.
Henry Chitsey served as Director of the Department of Technical Education and Manpower Development of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) until June,1967. Through his position at TEA, Henry Chitsey had become acquainted with the vocational-technical personnel at the junior colleges. Mr.Chitsey was aware of the need for an organization that would represent these vocational-technical program administrators at the junior college level. That organization could also serve as the primarily sounding board for the State relative to technical/career/workforce educational needs.
Seeing this need Henry Chitsey prepared a constitution and bylaws for an organization to be called the “Texas Association of Post-Secondary Vocational, Technical and Adult Education Administrators.” Copies of the document were sent to eleven junior college vocational-technical deans and directors for their evaluation and comment. The document was favorably received and copies were sent to all junior college deans and directors across the state. The Constitution and Bylaws were approved and adopted on January 14, 1969, at a meeting in Dallas. Officers of the new Association were elected February 14, 1969, at the Texas Junior College Teachers Association Convention being held in Fort Worth. The same officers were re-elected at the TJCTA Convention in Austin, February 21, 1970. Certificates for charter members were prepared and printed by Kilgore College. The number of charter members was around twenty-seven. The list of those charter members has, over the years, been lost.
During its early years the Association served in a supporting role to Joe Godsey and his staff at the Texas Education Agency. However, as the years passed the Association assumed more responsibility for the planning and presentation of the programs at the semi-annual Deans’ and Directors’ Conference.
In 1987 the Texas Legislature transferred the responsibility for the administration of post-secondary vocational-technical education from the Texas Education Agency to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Some minor changes were made to the Constitution and Bylaws, and the name of the Association was modified to “Texas Association of Post-Secondary Occupational Education Administrators (TAPSOEA).” In 1991 the 72nd Legislature enacted SB 330 which added Workforce Literacy and Economic Development to the state-wide mission of community colleges. The enactment of the Texas Workforce and Economic Competitiveness Act (SB642, 1993 as amended by HB 1863, 1995) further emphasized the important role of community colleges in workforce development efforts. It was at this time that the name of the Association was again changed. The Association officially became known as “Texas Association of College Technical Educators (TACTE).” The Constitution and Bylaws of the Association were also updated to reflect this new emphasis on workforce education.
In 1994 TACTE was incorporated as a 501 C (3) tax-exempt organization. With this new designation not only would TACTE be exempt from tax payments for goods and services purchased, but the Association could now receive donations from members, companies and interested individuals, who could then receive tax incentives for their donations. Those donations would have to be for special purposes and used in a specified manner, and the member could not receive any benefit from the donation rendered.
Over the years TACTE/TAPSOEA has grown and expanded in its outreach and operations. Just an example of how things have changed, in a 1982 Treasurers report the Association had $1,727 in the bank and that Spring’s Conference at the Austin Hilton (the old Hilton located in the Highland Mall area, on I35) cost $345.35.
In the fall 2005, TACTE and TCCIA (Texas Community College Instructional Administrators) began offering a joint conference under the heading of TCCIL (Texas Community College Instructional Leaders). The success of these joint ventures is demonstrated in the variety of expanded program offerings, and by the fact that in the fall 2008 TACE (Texas Administrators of Continuing Education) chose to become a full participating partner with TACTE and TCCIA in sponsoring the fall TCCIL Conference. Under the joint leadership of all three Associations the spring TCCIL Conference has become the premier academic conference provided for the leaders of Texas community colleges.
At the 2012 TCCIL Conference the three participating Associations joined together in presenting the TCCIL Award for Outstanding Leadership. This award was presented annually at the TCCIL Conference. After the TCCIL was dissolved, the TACTE Board of Directors chose to continue offering this leadership award.
After twelve years of cooperative conference arrangements, TCCIL (Texas Community College Instructional Leaders), a joint union of TCCIA (Texas Community College Instructional Administrators), TACE (Texas Administrators of Continuing Education), and TACTE (Texas Association of College Technical Educators), was officially disbanded. TCCIL was established for the purpose of offering a cooperative conference, each October, that would provide professional development for the members of all three of the Associations. In the spring of 2017 conversations were held with the Presidents of both TCCIA and TACE and both expressed their desire to dissolve the cooperative agreement. At the TACTE Summer Board meeting, June 15, 2017, the TACTE Board voted their approval and the TCCIL cooperative was dissolved. With this decision the fall 2017 TCCIL Conference was cancelled. This decision was made to enable the TACTE Board to evaluate future conference arrangements. After much discussion the TACTE Board elected to begin sponsoring one annual TACTE Conference each year.
TACTE continues to be a strong force behind the career/workforce education programs offered by the community/technical colleges of Texas. TACTE is often called upon by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for their review of and support of various rules and laws that impact career/workforce education programs. TACTE continues to be consulted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges, an association of the executive officers of all community colleges across the State, as they consider legislative agendas in their work with the Texas Legislature. Though identified by various names, TACTE has, for more than fifty years, provided exceptional service for college level technical education to the residents and businesses of Texas. Today TACTE still stands as the primary supporter of career/technical education in Texas.