In keeping with its mission of furthering the Houston region as a top global community to work and live, the Center for Houston’s Future launched the My Degree Counts campaign as part of the Talent Dividend, a national initiative to increase the graduation rates at two and four-year college institutions. Data shows that education explains most differences in metropolitan income, economic competitiveness and prosperity, voting rates, volunteering, crime, and drug abuse. Even though Houston is the nation’s fourth largest city, we ranked only 34th in college attainment in a 2010 survey, with a 28.4% four-year college attainment rate.
We know that educational attainment is the biggest predictor of success for cities and metro areas. The research is unassailable: 58% of a city’s success, as measured by per capita income, can be explained by the percentage of the adult population with a college degree. Our goal is to increase college attainment in the Houston region. As little as a one percent increase translates into additional $5 billion for the Houston regional economy annually and an $856 increase in per capita income for the entire metropolitan area each year.
As part of the Talent Dividend, we are competing with 56 other cities for the Talent Dividend Prize, $1 million grant for a national promotion campaign awarded to the city that exhibits the greatest increase in the number of post-secondary degrees granted over a four-year period.
The Center publicly launched this campaign on April 2, 2012 together with Mayor Annise Parker, Houston Texan Fullback James Casey and local rapper, Baby Jay, and our numerous partners from various universities, community colleges, ISDs and nonprofits.