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May 20, 2016 – Annual GM Luncheon with Houston’s media leaders, co-hosted by HAHMP and Rice University’s Multicultural Community Relations & Public Affairs, with guest speaker, Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Founding Director of Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research.
“These are the transformations that are occurring across all of America, nowhere more clearly seen or more sharply articulated than in the Houston region.” – S.Klineberg
Houston’s media leaders met at the Cohen House at Rice University to discuss the changing demographic and economic landscape in Houston and in America. According to the Kinder Houston Area Survey: Tracking Responses to a Changing America, the traditional low-skilled career path has almost disappeared. Today we participate and compete in a high-tech, worldwide economy where generations of predominantly Anglo Americans are aging and being replaced by immigrants of different ethnic backgrounds and religions from around the world.
David Loving, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Univision Houston asked if there were graphs from the study showing what these transformations are doing in terms of corporate profits in the health industry, oil industry, etc. The room seemed to agree “money talks” when it comes down to Houston business leaders understanding why we need to invest in the education of every child. As someone so eloquently put it in business terms, “not just because we care about children, but because we need an educated workforce.”
When asked what his suggestion would be in light of the Kinder Institute’s study findings, Klineberg immediately responded, “Universal pre-school. That’s a top priority.” He went on to mention the Greater Houston Partnership and others have taken the lead on:
- Early Matters, a “coalition of business, civic, education, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations and volunteers, working together to raise awareness about the importance of high quality early education and to make a strong case for increased investment in this critical, high return on investment area”.
- UpSkill Houston, “the nation’s first business-led, community-wide, integrated workforce effort. The initiative focuses on closing the skills gap in Houston by increasing the number of Houstonians trained for great careers across the region. The Partnership forecasts nearly 75,000 annual job openings in these “middle skills” careers that require more than a high school education but less than a four-year college degree.”
When asked by April Arias, President, Houston Association of Hispanic Media Professionals, what he would say to the media about what’s being talked about in the newsroom, Klineberg replied, “With all the negative things in the media, let’s systematically celebrate.” Celebrate programs and initiatives supporting early education and middle skills careers. Celebrate what’s working.
At the end of the discussion Kleinberg shared his “favorite slide” with the GM Luncheon group, which we found published online to share with you here. It shows how large of an area Houston’s sprawl covers, compared to the size of the cities of Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore combined.
Houston is a large city with an increasing population of non-Anglo citizens, with Fort Bend being “the most ethnically diverse county in the world”, as noted by Klineberg. According to other findings in the Kinder survey, Houston area residents have consistently expressed “increasingly favorable views toward the new immigration” and “reject the calls in the current electoral campaign to restrict immigration from Muslim countries and to turn away refugees seeking asylum.” To view the report in its entirety, click here: Kinder Houston Area Survey: Tracking Responses to a Changing America.
The final takeaway from today’s discussion? Voter turnout among younger, less affluent, non-Anglos is extremely low. We especially need to encourage Hispanics/Latinos to vote, as they now make up the majority of residents in our region. A greater voter turnout can lead to the educational and economic opportunities needed to keep our increasingly diverse communities prosperous.
Written By: Jessica Bolaños Vanegas, HAHMP Social Media Chair
Source: The Kinder Institute for Urban Research | Thirty-five years of the Kinder Houston Area Survey
Photos by: Goodspero