Published Apr 26, 2023 by Hailea Schultz
Throughout the 88th Texas Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership has focused on priority issues that further advance the greater Houston region. One of the many issues the Partnership is working to bolster is funding for higher education through House Bill 1595, which will significantly increase higher education funding to support research, innovation and talent pipeline development by creating a new multibillion-dollar endowment to support four Texas university systems, including the University of Houston System.
Since the Partnership's establishment, education has been a cornerstone of our impact work. This can be seen through our initiatives, such as Upskill Houston, which mobilizes the collective action of more than 200 critical stakeholders to strengthen the pipeline of skilled workers that employers need to create better pathways to opportunity and prosperity for all Houstonians, and PartnerUp, which works to equitably link college students looking to enter the workforce one-on-one with local industry professionals.
Additionally, the Partnership recently hosted a discussion on higher education, featuring a panel of top leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) -- Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M University.
During the panel, Texas Southern University President, Lesia Crumpton-Young, emphasized that TSU's primary goal is to provide students with the opportunities and resources needed to prepare them to enter Houston's workforce and help them develop the skills necessary to support the region's key industries -- which, in order to achieve, additional funding is essential.
Despite housing one of the nation's top universities, the University of Houston, Houston has not always been considered a higher education city. Many years ago, qualified students left Houston to pursue a four-year degree and did not return after graduation, leaving the talent pipeline too small to support our region's businesses. Although this perception has drastically changed due to the leadership at our colleges and universities, there is still work to do to strengthen our region's higher education system - which can be done through additional funding.
TSU recently requested significant funding from the state legislature that would strengthen research opportunities, improve facilities and provide student support services.
The Partnership has worked with and supported local community colleges and universities to ensure growth in these systems continues.
In support of TSU, the Partnership’s President and CEO, Bob Harvey, authored a letter to the appropriators, advocating for Texas Southern University’s request for increased research funding.
The infusion of new funding for Houston universities will not only help accelerate the universities' research capabilities and attract world-renowned professors and researchers, but it will also strengthen the region as a whole by being recognized as home to some of the top universities in the nation and providing a strong base for the future workforce.
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