Part 3 of the Houston Longitudinal Study on the Transition to College and Work (HLS) examined:

  • Supply and demand for labor in Houston and Texas, including an examination of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) 60×30TX strategic plan;
  • In-demand occupations and skills in the Houston area; and
  • Early career wages and unemployment receipt among high school graduates from the Houston Independent School District (HISD).
Results indicated the Houston area and Texas are projected to fall 20 and 10 percentage points short, respectively, of reaching the 60×30TX goal, an effort aimed at ensuring 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 complete a postsecondary credential by 2030. Regardless, data showed a positive relationship between education and earnings. The higher wages associated with a postsecondary credential might be related to the short supply of high-skilled workers in the Houston area and Texas.
Many Houston-area jobs required high levels of education and paid competitive annual wages. However, occupations with low supply growth and high demand growth required only moderate levels of education but high levels of interpersonal skills.
An analysis of HISD graduates seven years after high school uncovered considerable gaps in early career wages and unemployment insurance receipt by gender, race and ethnicity, and economic disadvantage. In particular, female graduates continued to earn less than males, and black and Asian graduates earned less than whites. The results ultimately showed students who completed a postsecondary degree or certificate often earned higher wages than peers with only a high school diploma.