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Center for Houston’s Future
News Release
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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


HOUSTON, TX – The report card on greater Houston’s education to workforce pipeline is public.  Although we get gold stars on job creation, and made incremental strides in middle and elementary school achievement, there is serious work to be done to make the region locally sustainable and globally competitive. 


Center for Houston’s Future – The Region’s Think Tank - released its latest data and yearlong peer reviewed study on key sustainability and competitiveness indicators for the greater Houston region to an audience of nearly 350 attendees at the 2012 Indicators Symposium on Friday, February 10, 2012 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.  


This year the focus is on Human Capital Development and Education – Childhood, K-12, and Workforce Preparedness. “The reason for gathering all these statistics about our community is simple: if you can measure it, you can improve it,” said Center President and CEO, Catherine Mosbacher.  


The Symposium chaired by Welcome Wilson, Sr.  and sponsored by KBR, featured 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 luncheon keynote address by Patricia Sullivan, (Education Solutions Executive, IBM) exploring the use of technology for improved learning in the classroom. 


Other national experts and local big-picture thinkers discussed 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, offers new ways to understand the greater Houston area in a regional, national and global context and measure our progress towards sustainability and competitiveness.  (Complete Symposium agenda with additional speakers attached – their power point presentations can be found on


Center President and CEO, Catherine Mosbacher explains, “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.”.  


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.

    * 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.

    * 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.


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


Texas Education Agency, Children at Risk Analysis


Texas Education Agency, Children at Risk Analysis


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


Community Indicators Report 2012 Program


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 Report:  Dr. 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


            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


Power Point presentations can be found at

Houston Maritime Museum

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