Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Students share views with Greater Houston Partnership committee

Thirteen high school students in Spring Branch ISD met Oct. 25 with members of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) Workforce Development Committee at the Guthrie Center to help the local business group identify workforce supply and needs for the city’s future.                              

The students told members of the region’s largest business organization about their career goals and post-graduation plans, including military, technical, and college and university enrollments. Under SBISD’s T-2-4 goal, the district is focused on doubling the number of its graduates who earn either a technical, two-year or four-year degree in the years ahead. 

Serving on the GHP Regional Workforce Development Task Force are prominent local leaders from business, education, workforce training and social services. The group is chaired by Gina Luna, who chairs JPMorgan Chase in Houston, and Bruce Culpepper, executive vice president with human resources at Shell, Americas. SBISD Superintendent Duncan F. Klussmann, Ed.D., is a task force member. 

The task force is interviewing a variety of groups – from high school students to business CEOs – to assess where Houston is today and study where it needs to be in the future to meet all of the region’s workforce needs. 

A planned research study will evaluate the region’s situation ranging from existing talents and skills to career programs and industry category needs. GHP is projecting that the greater Houston economy will add 76,000 new jobs this year. Since 2005, the Houston region has created an estimated 428,000 jobs. 

SBISD students shared their career plans and views about training, college and careers with the committee during a lunch meeting at the Guthrie Center. 

By show of hands, most students grew up in Houston, but many of them would work and live elsewhere. Most have taken one or more Advanced Placement courses, and most have also taken SAT or ACT classes and learned about college and career options through their high schools.

Still, a few students were interested in careers that do not require lengthy education or training. Most in the group, however, are not interested in construction-related careers.

“My dad says to find a job you love and all the rest will be OK,” said Daniel Plum, who has an ambition to work on an oil or gas rig. He’s heard that the oil and gas energy boom in Texas has made good-paying jobs possible without a four-year college or university degree.

Joshua Castro is thinking about teaching history one day. His passion for learning is far bigger than the test-taking requirements in high schools today. “One of the greatest teachers I have is about taking what we learn in the classroom and applying it to regular life. It’s not just about a grade or passing a test,” he says.

Matching today’s young adults with future careers is vital. “We must ensure that Houstonians have the skills and opportunities to enter the workforce and build successful careers, raise families and prosper,” GHP President and CEO Bob Harvey said. “At the same time, we must see that the workforce needs of our rapidly expanding economy are met. These are two sides to the same coin.”

Greater Houston Partnership Workforce Development Committee meeting attendees
Caroline Alexander – TIP Strategies (Consultant)
Wanda Bamberg, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools, Aldine ISD
Elaine Barber – Vice President for Public Policy, Greater Houston Partnership
Rick Franke – President, Junior Achievement
Katrina Kersch – Executive Director, Construction Career Collaborative
Richard Meserole – Representative, Fluor Daniel Corp. (Sugar Land)
Tom Stellman – Consultant, TIP Strategies
Mike Temple – Director, Houston Galveston Area Council – Gulf Coast Workforce Board
Spring Branch ISD student Community Conversation participants
Jonathan Martinez – Guthrie Center
Mirna Cardenas – Guthrie Center
Joshua Castro – Northbrook High School
Lauren Lozzio – Northbrook High School
Janeth Maldanado – Academy of Choice/Spring Woods High School
Nora Ruiz – Academy of Choice/Northbrook High School
Chris Rice – Spring Woods High School
Marissa Clark – Spring Woods High School
William Hendrickson – Stratford High School
Mohammad Almassi – Stratford High School
Michael Baker – Stratford High School
Blake Berry – Memorial High School
Sarah Stubbs – Memorial High School


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