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ERIC Number: ED559641
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Forging Strategic Business Partnerships to Develop the 21st Century Workforce: A Case Study of the University of Houston's Undergraduate Petroleum Engineering Program
Business-Higher Education Forum
The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is committed to aligning education and the workforce to create the talent and capacity for innovation necessary to keep regions, states, and the nation economically competitive. As part of that work, BHEF strives to analyze the factors that contribute to effective business and higher education partnerships that align education and the workforce. To reach this deeper understanding, BHEF periodically examines exemplary "innovative communities" already in existence. One such center of innovation is in Houston, where leaders in the energy industry collaborated with the University of Houston (UH) to launch, and quickly grow, a highly successful undergraduate program in petroleum engineering. The success of this partnership stands as a model of how business and higher education can collaborate to meet workforce needs. It both exemplifies a successful strategy for improved alignment between education and the workforce, and it demonstrates the value that is inherent in synergies among business, higher education, and the community. One of the cornerstones of the success of the UH program is that it was created and shaped in consultation with an advisory board whose members are primarily executives in the energy industry. The process of creating this partnership between higher education and business produced insights that can be generalized to other partnerships, including these top-level findings: (1) New partnerships must address actual workforce realities and create college graduates who can enter high-demand fields; (2) Deeply engaged high-level industry support is a critical requirement for program development; (3) "Quick wins" can help keep business engaged; and (4) Targeted interventions in education can help universities recruit and retain women and minorities. The success of the undergraduate petroleum engineering program at the University of Houston exemplifies how business and education can effectively join forces to develop both curricular and co-curricular experiences that directly address regional workforce requirements.
Business-Higher Education Forum. 2025 M Street NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-367-1189; Fax: 202-367-2269; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: USA Funds
Authoring Institution: Business-Higher Education Forum
Identifiers - Location: Texas