HISD Chamber of Commerce and schools partnering to create ‘global graduates’

Members honored for their commitment to prepare students for the workforce

Ever wonder what qualities employers are looking for in today’s workforce? High school principals got a chance to hear that first-hand from local industry and business leaders during a recent HISD Chamber of Commerce meeting. The chamber, which is made up of members from Houston’s key industries, provides the district with guidance on how to improve school-based career programming in order to better meet our area’s workforce needs.

During the kickoff meeting for the 2015–2016 school year, chamber members networked with high school principals and discussed the importance of the HISD Global Graduate profile, which is a list of six competencies students need for success after graduation. The profile was developed with the help of various chamber members and includes qualities like critical thinking, adaptability and productivity, responsible decision-making, and communication skills.

“Listening and talking to these industry leaders, who actually are doing the hiring, really makes the HISD Global Graduate profile a reality,” said Rupak Gandhi, principal at Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center High School. “I also had a chance to engage in great conversations with several businesses who are ready to partner with our campus and provide our soon-to-be graduates with jobs. It’s a win-win situation for all of us.”

The chamber, which meets every other month, is also actively involved in providing internships for students, summer externships for teachers, class speakers, field trips, and assistance with curriculum and instructional planning.

“Principals need access to local employers in order to better serve the needs of their students,” said HISD Assistant Superintendent of Career Readiness Mike Webster. “By partnering with Houston’s industries and businesses, HISD will be better able to build global graduates that are truly ready for the world.”

At the meeting, several chamber members were honored for their work with the district over the past year. The Outstanding Partnership award was presented to Vaughn Construction, a company that recently offered paid internships to several high school students interested in pursuing careers in that industry. The Partnership Champion award was given to José Palacios with MEMCO.

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“José has gone above and beyond to pull resources and make industry connections for our programs,” said HISD Manager of College and Career Guidance Dan Sturdevant. “He has opened doors to partners and school sponsorships and led many students to full-time employment post-graduation.  We are grateful for his service and commitment to HISD.”