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Center for Houston's Future
News Release
Thursday, February 09, 2012

If We Can Measure It, We Can Improve It: Greater Houston’s Education to Workforce Pipeline

HOUSTON –  The report card is out on greater Houston’s education to workforce pipeline.  Although we get gold stars on job creation, and there have been incremental strides in middle and elementary school achievement, there is still serious work to be done to make the region locally sustainable and globally competitive.  Center for Houston’s Future – The Region’s Think Tank - is releasing its latest data study on key sustainability and competitiveness indicators for the greater Houston region at the 2012 Indicators Symposium on February 10, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm at the George R. Brown Convention CenterThis year the focus is on Human Capital Development and EducationChildhood, K-12, and Workforce Preparedness.  The Symposium is chaired by Welcome Wilson, Sr. and will feature panel discussions with special guests Ramon Gonzalez (Founding Principal of The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, a Brooklyn middle school success story); Bryan Hancock, (McKinsey and Company), an expert on the  economic impact of the achievement gap in America’s schools, and a luncheon keynote address by Patricia Sullivan, (Education Solutions Executive, IBM) exploring  the use of technology for improved learning in the classroom.  (Complete Symposium agenda with additional speakers attached).

The reason for gathering all these statistics about our community is simple: if you can measure it, you can improve it. By conducting these annual studies on sustainability and competitiveness since 2007, the Center for Houston’s Future broadens access to information, encourages public debate and dialogue, builds consensus, and helps to develop shared solutions. The unvarnished facts about how the region stacks up – from our talent gap in the workforce to successes and shortcomings in our schools - is key to making the successful transition from a manufacturing-based economy to a high-tech knowledge-based world today.” said Center President and CEO, Catherine Mosbacher

At the Symposium, sponsored by KBR, national experts will talk about best practices, and local big-picture thinkers will discuss the results of the study, the real-world challenges and practical solutions to improve education in the eight-county region. The Community Indicators Report, along with the Symposium, offer new ways to understand the greater Houston area in a regional, national and global context and measure our progress towards sustainability and competitiveness.

Key findings from the report:

Needs Improvement

·         Estimates project that there will be as many as 62,000 new jobs in education, nursing and STEM careers in the next four years. However, the region’s higher education institutions are not producing enough qualified graduates to meet this demand. ¹

·         Almost half of entering college freshmen require developmental courses to catch up with peers, and of those freshmen who are college ready, only 60% graduate or persist in college after 3 years. ²

·         Students lagging at critical benchmarks along the education continuum, e.g. third grade reading, coupled with the region’s 71% high school graduation rate, means that fewer students are in the pipeline to succeed in college and career. ³

·         Only 53% of greater Houston ninth graders are passing Algebra I, a ‘gateway’ course that is a strong indicator of their ability to succeed in more advanced math and science coursework. ⁴

·         In 2010, only 48% of third grade students in the greater Houston region were reading at the commended Level, with an even lower percentage for economically disadvantaged children.⁵

·         40% of children ages 0-5 served by the Early Education System in greater Houston are in child care programs or homes that are less rigorously regulated and whose teacher education credentials are considered minimal.⁶

Making Progress

Disparities still persist along the education pipeline, based on economic disadvantage.  In the past 10 years, gradual improvements have been made in key areas:

·         53% of ninth graders successfully completed Algebra I in 2010, up from 34% in 2000

·         48% of third graders are reading at commended level, up from 25% in 2003.

Center for Houston’s Future, The Region’s Think Tank, is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization that plans strategically for the region, strengthens the base of diverse business and civic leadership, and informs people about – while engaging them in  the necessary groundwork for the region’s global future.  To learn more, visit

¹ FSG Social Impact Consultants, 2011

² Texas Education Agency; Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

³ Texas Education Agency

⁴ Texas Education Agency, Children at Risk Analysis

⁵ Texas Education Agency, Children at Risk Analysis

⁶ 2009, US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2009, Collaborative for Children Qualified Early Childhood Database.

To schedule interviews, or for questions, contact Mercedes at 713-844-9328 or

 During the event, contact her at 713-550-0281.



8:00am   Registration & Breakfast

8:30am   Welcome   

                                James Calaway, Chair, Center for Houston’s Future                  

Welcome Wilson, Sr., Honorary Chair of 2012 Community Indicator Symposium

Former Chair, University of Houston Board of Regents

Charles Lyons, Vice President, Quality, Health Safety & Environment, KBR

8:45am    Breakfast Panel:  Education & Global Competition

Moderator:  Brian Hancock, Principal, McKinsey and Company


Ramon Gonzalez, Founding Principal, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology,

South Bronx, NY

Dr. Renu Khator, Chancellor, UH System and President, University of Houston

Scott McClelland, President, HEB Houston

Dr. Steve Murdock, Professor of Sociology, Rice University

9:50am     Break

10:00am   First Morning Panel Session: morning panel repeated  

                     Middle School: Challenges Abound

                                Moderator: Alice Aanstoos, Regional Vice President, AT&T

                                2012 Indicator ReportDr. Scott Van Beck, President, A+ Challenge


Ramon Gonzalez, Founding Principal, The Laboratory School for Finance & Technology,

South Bronx, NY

                                Henry Booth, Former Principal, Natalia ISD, San Antonio, TX    

                   High School: Partnerships Matter

Moderator: Dr. James A. Johnson, Director, Transport Market, Infrastructure &

Minerals, KBR

2012 Indicator Report: Dr. Robert Sanborn, President & CEO, Children at Risk


LaShonda Bilbo-Ervin, Principal, Booker T. Washington High School for

Engineering Professions

                               Jorge Arredondo, Principal, Stephen F. Austin High School

                    Workforce Preparedness:  Creative Ideas for Education-Business Partnerships

Moderator: Dan Duncan, Vice President & General Manager, Oil and Gas Division, Siemens

2012 Indicator Report: Dr. Catherine Horn, Associate Professor, University of Houston College of Education


Rod Herrick, Vice President & Site Manager, Industrial Park, Bayer Material Science LLC

Trisha Wooten, Senior Workforce Development Consultant, UTMB

11:05am    Break

11:15am    Second Morning Panel Session 

12:30pm    Luncheon and Keynote Address

                                Catherine C. Mosbacher, President & CEO, Center for Houston’s Future

                Patricia Sullivan, Education Solutions Executive, IBM 

                Technology in the Changing Classroom                                      

1:45pm     Afternoon Panel

       Early Childhood Development:  Getting it Right from the Beginning

Moderator: Dr. Frazier Wilson, VP, Shell Oil Company Foundation

2012 Indicator Report: Carol Shattuck, President & CEO, Collaborative

for Children


Lynn D. Barnes, Founding School Leader, KIPP Coastal Village

Katherine von Haefen, Senior Program Manager, United Way of Greater Houston


     K-5: Early Learning & Loving It             

Moderator: Misty White, Executive Director, Reliant Energy Foundation

2012 Indicator Report: Dr. Keith Haffey, Executive Director, Accountability & Research, Spring Branch ISD


Ida Ford, Principal, Burton Elementary School, Fort Bend ISD

Dr. Susan Landry, Director and Founder, The Children’s Learning Institute


    Talent Dividend Panel:  Increasing College Graduation Rates by 1%

Moderator: Alan Thomson, Senior Partner & Managing Director - Houston, Boston

Consulting Group


Eyra Perez, Executive Director, San Antonio Education Partnership

Dr. Lee Holcombe, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute, Texas Higher

Education Coordinating Board

Dr. Cathy Brigham, Director of Curriculum, Dean of Faculty, Council for Adult &

Experiential Learning

3:00pm    Conference adjourned

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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