Mayor's Office Press Release

Houston Selected to Participate in National Initiative to Increase Equity in Postsecondary and Workforce Success

November 30, 2016 -- The National League of Cities (NLC), with support from The Kresge Foundation, has selected Houston as one of 12 cities that will meet November 30 – December 2, 2016 in Washington D.C. to explore and build equitable pathways to postsecondary and workforce success at the Leadership Academy: Promoting Postsecondary and Workforce Success. Each city has made a commitment to address inequities in accessing and succeeding in higher education as well as gaining meaningful employment. The Leadership Academy will provide Houston with the opportunity to gain strategies to address these inequities through peer sharing. They will bring together city leaders in government, education and workforce and will provide an opportunity for Houston to engage in peer learning, access and hear from national experts and take next steps in building and expanding the city’s efforts in ensuring all residents can earn a certificate or degree as well as gain meaningful employment.

“Houston’s future is dependent on the educational success of our residents. For the dreams of our city’s children to come into being, we must work collaboratively to breakdown the structural barriers that prevent every person from succeeding,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “We must also develop opportunities to connect our youth to the jobs and economy that this dynamic city offers. After all, the City of Houston’s tax base and fiscal wellbeing are predicated on the development of a highly educated workforce, and the biggest predictor of a city’s success is the education level of its population.”

Juliet Stipeche, the city’s first Mayor’s Office Director of Education, will be attending the Leadership Academy in Washington. Recognizing the youth employment crisis and the value of early work experience, Mayor Turner has encouraged Stipeche to work on several initiatives, including the expansion of the Hire Houston Youth summer jobs program for 16-24 year olds.  The program provides youth an opportunity to gain workforce readiness skills, engages them in positive activities during the summer, and links them to long-term career opportunities.

Mayors and other city leaders know that their efforts to build strong and vibrant local economies depend on their ability to develop and retain a well-educated workforce with 21st-Century skills.  To reach this goal, cities need both clear pathways to college and postsecondary programs that are responsive to regional workforce needs. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and Workforce[cew.georgetown.edu], since the great recession over 95% of the jobs created have gone to individuals with education beyond a high school diploma. Cities are in prime positions to leverage cross-sector partnerships and increase postsecondary attainment and workforce success.

Through the Leadership Academy: Promoting Postsecondary and Workforce Success Houston will have the opportunity to be a part of a cohort of cities that will be working together through 2017 to implement innovative and sustainable education and workforce strategies that address major equity issues in cities. Each city’s efforts will be shared out nationally to inform the field with the hope of promoting more strategies for degree attainment and workforce success.
Learn more about this two year body of work and other postsecondary and workforce solutions through NLC here http://www.nlc.org/kresgeleadershipacademy[nlc.org]

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The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities.  Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns it represents.