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INITIATIVES INITIATIVES

Civics 201: Issues and Policy in Central Texas

A Program from the Economic Development Committee

Join us on September 23 and 24!

All sessions will be presented virtually. Each day will have content from 4:30-6:15pm.



Young professionals are poised to be the next wave of civic leaders in Austin. With many major decisions – from education to transportation to affordability to homelessness – right in front of us, now is the time to get informed, get involved, and get active. This forum will bring together a diverse group of young professionals to learn more about these key issues, how policy affects equity, and how to use their voice to create change.

Thank You to Our Civics 201 Supporters

AscensionSeton

Civics 201 Speakers


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A.J. Bingham

Founder & CEO, The Bingham Group
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Tina Bui

Coalition Liaison and Operations Manager, Transit for Austin
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Becky Calahan

Associate, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC)
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Jennifer Cavazos Saenz

Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives & Continuous Improvement, E3 Alliance
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Amber Fogarty

President & Chief Goodness Officer, Mobile Loaves & Fishes
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Kendra Garrett

Director of Housing and Community Development, Austin Justice Coalition
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Sandy Guzman

Executive Director, Austin Area Research Organization
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Michael Hole, M.D.,MBA,FAAP

Founding Advisor, Good Apple
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JoLisa Hoover, M.Ed.

Regional Advocacy Director – Central Texas, Raise Your Hand Texas
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Rep. Celia Israel

Texas House of Representatives, District 50
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Casey Johnson Burack

General Counsel & Vice President - Government Relations, Downtown Austin Alliance
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Heidi Kasper

Energy Efficiency Services Manager, Austin Energy
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Adam Pirtle

Advocacy Co-Director, Texas Housers
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Eva Rios-Lleverino

Deputy Executive Director, Capital IDEA
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Christopher J. Shorter

Assistant City Manager, City of Austin
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Zack Timmons

Co-Founder and CEO, Good Apple
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Mark Williams

Austin Community College District Board of Trustees
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Bree Williams, LMSW

Director of Community Housing, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)
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Adelita Winchester

Chief Programs Officer, Caritas of Austin


Civics 201 will be centered around four Young Chamber priorities that are also key issues in our community: Affordability, Education, Homelessness, and Transportation.


Keynote
Policy, Equity, and Me

with A.J. Bingham

Whether you realize it or not, policy affects your everyday life. And it affects the life of your neighbors, too. With so much work needing to be done to rebuild our businesses and our communities, we need good policies to help us move forward, together. In this keynote, you will learn about the impact of policy at the local and state levels, how policy affects equity, and why we as young professionals can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.

Sept. 23 | 4:30 – 5:15pm


AFFORDABILITY


Affordable to Exorbitant: How Affordability has Shifted Over the Last 35 Years

Video Pre-Learning

We know rising costs are making it difficult for many Austinites to find affordable housing, stay in Austin city limits, and balance our budget. In this crash course, you will hear a brief history on affordability issues in our region and its effects on those it is meant to help.

with
Kendra Garrett
Director of Housing and Community Development, Austin Justice Coalition


EDUCATION


Back to School - An Orientation to Education in Central Texas

Video Pre-Learning

Education of all types is an essential building block to prosperity – and it’s important that we ensure education is attainable for all. This session will provide a common jumping off point for understanding the landscape of the education to economy pipeline in our region. You will learn how local versus state education decisions are made, major historical milestones of education policy, and current priorities of local leaders, teachers, parents and students going into the 87th Legislative session.

with
JoLisa Hoover, M.Ed.
Regional Advocacy Director – Central Texas, Raise Your Hand Texas


What is ``Affordable`` and How Do We Ensure it Stays That Way?

Sept. 23 | 5:30 - 6:15pm

In 2010, the average home price in Austin was $193,520. Now it’s $318,000. While the rising cost of living – housing, utilities, food and more – has made our economy stronger, it has also led to negative impacts that we cannot ignore. In this session, you will hear from a panel of experts who will discuss what “affordable” really means, how policy affects affordability, and ways we can and should invest in our communities to benefit all.

with
Dr. Michael Hole
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Population Health and Public Policy at Dell Medical School and the LBJ School of Public Affairs
Founding Advisor, Good Apple

Heidi Kasper
Energy Efficiency Services Manager, Austin Energy

Adam Pirtle
Advocacy Co-Director, Texas Housers

Zack Timmons
Co-Founder and CEO, Good Apple


Education to Workforce - The Pipeline of Development

Sept. 23 | 5:30 - 6:15pm

Right now, our economy is experiencing a workforce shift. We are seeing high demand for some jobs – such as healthcare and tech – and a decrease in demand for others. So what strategies are we using to ensure there are enough workers to fill available jobs, and that they can earn a living wage? In this session you will learn what challenges exist, how Central Texas leaders are working together to solve problems, and how local and state policy both play a big role in building an aligned education to workforce pipeline.

with
Eva Rios-Lleverino
Deputy Executive Director, Capital IDEA

Jennifer Cavazos Saenz
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives & Continuous Improvement, E3 Alliance

Mark Williams
Austin Community College District Board of Trustees

Moderated by Becky Calahan
Associate, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC)



Civics 201 will be centered around four Young Chamber priorities that are also key issues in our community: Affordability, Education, Homelessness, and Transportation.


HOMELESSNESS


Understanding Homelessness - Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Video Pre-Learning

There are many myths and misconceptions about those experiencing homelessness. In this session, you will learn about the root causes of homelessness, critical support systems for housing stability, and how the nationally recognized Community First Village model is changing how we help our neighbors.

with
Amber Fogarty
President & Chief Goodness Officer, Mobile Loaves & Fishes


TRANSPORTATION


In the Rearview: How the Last 25 Years of Transportation Policy Got Us Here

Video Pre-Learning

The population in Austin, TX is projected to double by the year 2040 – and we have a lot of work to do to be able to move that many people safely and efficiently to work, home, and everything in between. But how did we get to where we are, and what transportation challenges exist for our region? In this session, you will learn more about the history of transportation policy, what changes are coming up the pipeline, and why you should weigh in now to create positive transit changes in our community.

with
Casey Burack
Vice President of Government Relations, Downtown Austin Alliance

Sandy Guzman
Executive Director, Austin Area Research Organization


Homeless in ATX: Policy Solutions to Help our Neighbors

Sept. 24 | 4:30 - 5:15pm

There are many factors that can initially force someone into experiencing homelessness but what about the different solutions in place to help individuals and families out of homelessness? Join this session to understand the facts about plans and policy to address homelessness in Austin. You’ll learn about the different models of treatment for homeless individuals, Austin’s Action Plan to End Homelessness, and get more information around pertinent local policy. We’ll also be addressing some of the misconceptions around policies in Austin, such as the city’s camping ordinance. This session will help you become a more informed advocate for reducing and preventing homelessness in Austin.

with
Chris Shorter
Assistant City Manager, City of Austin

Bree Williams
Director of Community Housing, Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)

Moderated by Adelita Winchester
Chief Program Officer, Caritas of Austin


Moving Forward: What's in Store for the Next 12 Months of Transportation Policy

Sept. 24 | 4:30 - 5:15pm

If you thought 2020 has been a wild ride, hold on to your seat as we take you through the upcoming twists and turns of transportation policy affecting you. We sit with Rep. Celia Israel as we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions on the coming year. We will cover what’s in store for Project Connect and I-35, as well as what to expect from the 87th Texas Legislative Session.

with
Representative Celia Israel
District 50 Representative, Texas House of Representatives

Moderated by Tina Bui
Coalition Liaison and Operations Manager, Transit for Austin


Let's Talk: Policy

General Networking and Idea Exchange

With our new knowledge of issues and policy, let’s come together and brainstorm solutions and ideas to move our community forward. You will choose your topic of choice – education, transportation, homelessness, or affordability – for a facilitated round table discussion with fellow attendees. We will document all ideas, package them up, and provide them to our policy leaders as an actionable step forward.

Sept. 24 | 5:30 – 6:30pm



* Topics and speakers are subject to change.