Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

Houston Chosen as Finalist in US2020 City Competition
Winning cities will share nearly $1 million to bolster STEM mentoring for
under-represented students



November 14, 2013 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker is pleased to announce that Houston is among 13 cities named as US2020 City Competition finalists chosen from a pool of 52 applicants nationwide.  The US2020 City Competition supports the role of cities as innovators in efforts to build Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) mentoring capacity at the local level.  The other finalists include:  Allentown, PA; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Research Triangle, NC; San Francisco, CA; Tulsa, OK; and Wichita, KS.  The first round of applicants represented over 500 organizations, including nonprofits, school districts and businesses from 29 states.


“The City of Houston takes great pride in being selected as a US2020 finalist. The honor reflects the work we’ve been doing to engage diverse groups of stakeholders to promote education in the sciences, technology, engineering and math,” said Mayor Parker.  “US2020’s electronic communications network will help us match the mentoring needs of our students with STEM resources.  Ultimately, our goal is to create a pipeline for Houston’s future STEM workforce.”


“US2020 is also an opportunity to create more transparency among stakeholders to make information about STEM resources and parent-focused messaging easily accessible to the public,” said Mark Cueva, Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives manager.  ”We believe we can help develop a model that strengthens the existing work of partners and supports high-impact collaborations to close the skills gap faced by under-represented students in STEM fields.”


The finalists will join peers and STEM experts in Boston for "Ideas Camp" on December 4-5.  Over the two-day session, the teams will devise concept implementation plans and collaborate with experts and peers to refine their strategies.  Applications for the second round of the competition are due in January.  The winning cities will be announced in February.  The winners will share nearly $1 million in resources from US2020.  The awards will be based on the teams’ proposals and strategic plans to significantly increase STEM mentoring for girls, low-income youth and students of color.


The Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, is the lead applicant for Houston’s US2020 proposal.  The guiding coalition for the first round of the competition include the Center for Houston’s Future, CenterPoint Energy, Citizen Schools-Texas, Genesys Works, The Harris Foundation, Houston Independent School District, Microsoft Corporation and Wells Fargo.  For information about the City’s education initiatives and how to participate in US2020, visit


About US2020

US2020 connects a community of “best in class” nonprofits with STEM corporate volunteers.  The US2020 City Competition capitalizes on the role of cities as centers for innovation by supporting outstanding efforts to build STEM mentoring capacity at the local level.  Up to five cities from across the country will share nearly $1 million in resources from US2020, based on their plans to significantly increase STEM mentoring for girls, low-income youth and students of color.  For more information, visit