Education & Workforce
If our people are what make America exceptional, then plain Common Sense tells us that we have to invest in our people – all of our people – for our country to reach its full potential.
Investing in our people starts with education, and my vision for education in our country is centered on a pipeline of lifelong learning. I believe creating strong and relevant educational opportunities for all people at all ages is crucial to making the promise of America real for everyone. If we invest first and foremost in our people, then our future is unlimited.
My first work experience in the nonprofit and education field was a joint effort between the Center for Houston’s Future, a strategic planning and leadership development part of the business community, and the Collaborative for Children, a leading early childhood nonprofit, called Preschool for ALL. At Preschool for ALL, we focused on increasing access to quality early childhood education for all children in Harris County.
Our work taught me the value of early childhood education, of engaging all of our kids in the vital years between birth and age four. These critical early years are when a significant portion of a child’s most important brain development occurs. And when we invest early in a child’s development, this investment pays off significantly. We see increased school success for children and increased life success down the road. And success in school translates into stronger communities—with decreased rates of crime, addiction and joblessness.
Our work at Preschool for ALL showed it is possible, and powerful, to bring together the nonprofit community and the business community—to get them to work together to solve a problem. In this work, I witnessed firsthand the power of using our heads and our hearts. Our Common Sense in making investments in early childhood education, and our Common Decency in seeking to do the right thing for all people—for young children growing and developing and for working families that need a safe and enriching place for their children while the parents work.
It’s this type of win-win-win, for our children, for our parents, and for our communities – the schools our children eventually attend, and the places where our families work and live – I am determined to bring from Houston to Washington.
My work at Preschool for All, and as Executive Director of the nonprofit Citizen Schools also taught me the importance of keeping our kids engaged and learning outside of the classroom. As our kids grow and develop it’s important we have high quality child care, afterschool, and summer programs that challenge their minds and help prepare them for their future.
If our children are to succeed in a fluid future, then we must teach them to think critically, to work well with other people, and, most importantly, to embrace learning throughout their lives.
Importantly, a pipeline of lifelong learning also means adults need access to relevant education and re-training opportunities throughout their work lives. Too many of our hard working people are confronting job loss due to automation, globalization, or business failure.
Education and re-training programs from our community colleges and universities, our unions and businesses, and our military can help those whose jobs have been automated away find new career paths in a constantly evolving economy.
We’re all in this together, and our ability to work and succeed in our ever-changing world is crucial to our citizens’ and our country’s continued growth and success. In Congress, I will work hard to develop, support, and connect these pathways of lifelong learning so that all Americans have an opportunity to thrive in a global society and economy.