Monday, September 30, 2013

Some Stage Setting for the 2013-14 ENGAGE Breakfast Series

Guest post from ESSENTIAL 2010 alum and 2013-14 ENGAGE Advisory Committee member Chelsea McCullough.

The 2013-14 ENGAGE Breakfast Series will begin this Wednesday, October 2. As in previous seasons. this year we will examine key topics with top community leaders in Austin and the surrounding areas. Before diving into each individual issue, we should first have a shared understanding of who we are as a region and how this can shape our conversations moving forward.

Central Texas is a dynamic place that is enjoying incredible growth and expansion. According to a recent analysis by Moody Analytics, economic growth in the Austin metropolitan region is expected to proceed at more than twice the national average through 2015. But our community extends beyond Austin and includes a six-county region of Travis, Williamson, Burnet, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell, each with their own unique benefits and challenges. Below are a few points of data that may be helpful in framing some of our ENGAGE conversations this year.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Texas State Data Center, CAPCOG

As you can see from the chart above, the Austin MSA is growing rapidly and the highest densities of that growth are in areas outside of the Austin city limits.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CAPCOG
Source: Central Texas State of the Region, CAPCOG

Of note on the above chart: the fastest growing portion of our population has the lowest levels of education.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

We'll present more information like this as the ENGAGE season continues, to provide some context for our discussions. In the meantime, we're looking forward to the new ENGAGE series launching this Wednesday with our panel on water and the impending "drought of record" for our region. Get your tickets here if you haven't already.

Chelsea McCullough is Executive Director for Texans for Economic Progress and Principal at Intercambio.

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