Skip to main content

One Houston Together: Education and Racial Inequities

Published Sep 08, 2020 by A.J. Mistretta

How does race affect the educational opportunities afforded to individuals and communities in the Houston area? What can we do to ensure quality education is accessible to all? 

Those were some of the issues discussed in the second installment of the Partnership’s One Houston Together webinar series, this time focused on Education and Racial Inequities. 

The event featured a conversation that included: Ruth Lopez-Turley, Director, Houston Education Research Consortium; Michael Love, Assistant Superintendent of Career Readiness, Houston Independent School District; Marvin Pierre, Executive Director, Eight Million Stories; and moderator Delicia Jones, Chief Strategy and Investments Officer, Good Reason Houston. 

We invite you to watch the full conversation by clicking the video recording to the right. Important topics included: 

  • How to define and recognize education inequities in our community. 
  • What do racial inequities look like in Houston today and what’s perpetuating those inequities. 
  • What’s currently being done to address inequities and what progress looks like. 
  • The need to expand career awareness among all communities to ensure a full slate of opportunities—from skill-based careers to college—are presented regardless of race. 
  • How resource disparities contribute to learning and achievement gaps. 
  • The correlation between education disparities/lack of resources and the criminal justice system, often referred to as the School to Prison pipeline. 
  • The segregated makeup of Houston area school districts and what it says about our community. 
  • The need for increased conversations to make the broader community aware of education disparities and how to address the issue. 
  • What funding would be necessary to address the systemic education disparities in our region and what form could such fixes take, from direct governmental spending to public-private partnerships. 

Click here for slides illustrating some of these issues. Learn more about One Houston Together

Below are other events related to the series. All Upcoming One Houston Together virtual events that are free to register: 

Watch previous One Houston Together webinar: 

Related News

Racial Equity

One Houston Together: Driving Action to Advance Inclusion and Strategic Talent Development and Retention

5/19/22
How does a global company launch an effective diversity and inclusion strategy from the ground up? And what does outside-the-box thinking look like when it comes to education benefits that significantly move the needle on talent retention?  Those are some of the questions addressed in the Partnership’s most recent One Houston Together Talent Roundtable earlier this month.  Jacobs Gets Results on Equity and Inclusion  The engineering giant Jacobs began its diversity and inclusion program in 2019 following its merger with another company. The original strategy developed four years ago remains the blueprint the company follows today, albeit with a few updates. Using key tools like the Global DEI Benchmarks – the basis for our Houston-region Equity & Inclusion Assessment – Jacobs measured their current state in 2019 and developed a transparent and measurable plan  to dive change. In 2020, the company’s TogetherBeyond initiative formally launched through the Jacobs rebranding and a director position was created to oversee the effort. Several factors have helped Jacobs achieve success, said Sabrina Becker, Global Director for the TogetherBeyond initiative at Jacobs. Visible and measurable executive support has demonstrated that equity and inclusion is a company priority from top to bottom, and one that’s tied to business goals. A robust group of employee networks with 16,000 participants enables direct connections to broader strategy and creates a clear through-line between values and people. Finally, said Becker, defined metrics for progress and regular check-ins help ensure the initiative is clearly and demonstrably working toward the broader company strategy.  “Everyone in the company knows what the strategy is and how it ties back to Jacobs values,” Becker said. “But we recognize that that strong value system has to be supported by senior management. That’s what makes the difference.”  Jacobs had to develop its baseline metrics and goals from scratch and was challenged to educate its employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Over the last two years, Becker said, the company has made Conscious Inclusion and Advocate and Ally training a requirement for all personnel.  Diversity and inclusion is important to Jacobs because of how few minorities and women are entering engineering and STEM-related fields. “We want more than our share of all of the diversity categories because there are simply not enough in our industry,” Becker said.  Today, Jacobs is tracking its progress via a biannual GDEIB survey, an annual internal culture survey with ancillary pulse surveys, regular benchmarking of TogetherBeyond goals, and ongoing conversations with the leadership of employee networks.  And in just three years, the firm has achieved significant success, from receiving international recognition for its diversity and inclusion efforts to establishing a mentoring network for employees that requires all executives at VP level and above to have a diverse mentee.  WM Reimagines Education Benefits  When it comes to education benefits, WM is leading the corporate pack. The company formerly known as Waste Management is the first U.S. company to extend a no-cost education and upskilling program to both employees and their dependent family members. WM’s Your Tomorrow program is available to over 37,000 team members and their nearly 35,000 family members, including spouses and children.  Gordon Blasius, Vice President of Total Rewards for WM, runs the Your Tomorrow program. While turnover can be incredibly high in blue-collar sectors, Blasius said WM has seen an 80% decrease in turnover among the workers engaged in Your Tomorrow.  “This is truly making a difference in the lives of those kids who would have never been able to go to college, and their parents,” Blasius said.  Your Tomorrow offers more than 170 programs, including fully funded high school completion, short-form technology and business certificates, select undergraduate degrees, and partially funded graduate programs for team members. WM covers the program costs upfront, helping eliminate student debt, promote economic mobility and foster generational wealth, said Blasius.  WM works in partnership with Guild Education to provide access to 130 different college programs to employees and their family members. In the first six months, nearly 6,000 team members engaged with the program – of which almost 70 percent are frontline workers. The roundtable discussion also included a presentation from Mark Brown, Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative, who spoke about the initiative that offers eligible students from Minority Serving Institutions an income-contingent option for funding college education. Brown also talked about InternX, an intelligence platform operated by the Student Freedom Initiative that companies can use to identify and hire racially diverse interns and support talent pipeline development. At present, more than 200 companies and 14,000 students are using the free platform. 
Read More
Quality of Life

Summer Family Activities in Houston

5/11/22
Summer is around the corner! Soon, school will be out, and families will have more time to explore the city. Houston has so much to offer during this time. From cooling off at Schlitterbahn in Galveston to outings at Minute Maid Park and Miller Outdoor Theater, there’s enough to keep the entire family entertained all summer long.  Enjoy a Show  If you have a little one in your life or love musical performances, you won’t want to miss FROZEN this summer at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. This can’t miss Broadway show will tour in Houston from late June through July.  Have an older child? The classic Broadway sensation, WICKED, returns May 31. Recommended for ages 8 and up, this is the perfect family outing that also beats the Houston summer heat. See the complete list of current and upcoming shows here.   Attend a Concert  Calling all Encanto lovers! The widely popular film is coming to The Woodlands in sing-along form. This 2.5-hour-long concert includes a live band and all the record-breaking hit songs from the beloved soundtrack. Learn more and get your tickets here.  Experience Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows alongside the Houston Symphony this summer. Families can enjoy the full film set to a live symphony orchestra either June 10 or 11. Learn more and get your tickers here.  Click to expand Houston Symphony Visit the Museum District  All summer long, the Children’s Museum Houston has events, meet-and greets and activities planned to celebrate summer. From Princess Day to Kidpendence day with Captain America, there’s something for everyone during “Fun Summer Vibes.” The Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Museum of Natural Science is always a family favorite for all ages. Here you can walk through a living butterfly habitat. This mini rainforest contains several plant species, a 50-foot waterfall and an estimated 2,000 butterflies.  Cool off at a Splash Pad Gateway Fountain at Discovery Green is one of the most popular splash pads in all of Houston. With 14-foot-high jets and downtown city views in every direction, there’s so much fun to have at this iconic park.  Levy Park is another great family destination near the Galleria. This unique park has hills to climb, a rock wall that leads to a slide, games and a water feature that dumps those standing below. Families can also enjoy quick bites, such as Love Shack, within steps of the play area.    Click to expand Levy Park Brewery Tour Around Houston   What better way is there to cool off than sipping on a chilled beverage? Karbach Brewery offers plenty of shade and games in their biergarten and it’s also family friendly. Take your friends, children and fur babies for a refreshing afternoon outing.  St. Arnolds is another great brewery with plenty of outdoor activities for kiddos. You can also check out their anniversary party taking place on June 28, which will include live music, local artists and special variations of Art Car IPA on draft while supplies last.  These are just a few ways to spend time together as a family in Houston. For more ideas and ways to explore the city visit https://www.houston.org/living-in-houston.   
Read More

Related Events

Demography

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council

Houston is America's diverse city - this Council explores how Houston's business community plays a critical role in advancing Houston as America's most inclusive and open city, one that truly offers an opportunity…

Learn More
Learn More