Panhandle Twenty/20 marks big anniversary

A decade ago, a group of educators, civic and business leaders got together to develop a strategy for how the Texas Panhandle would cope with a future that is sure to look quite a bit different from its past.

They formed Panhandle Twenty/20 and received from a leading Texas demographer some data that has opened a lot of eyes and spurred a lot of critical thinking throughout the Panhandle.

Next Tuesday, at the Amarillo College Business & Industry Center, 1314 S. Polk Street, the community will gather for a seminar to analyze where we’ve been in the past 10 years and where we are going.

Dr. Steve Murdock, the Rice University demographer who pulled together the data from which Panhandle Twenty/20 began its work, will be on hand for the meeting at the B&I Center.

What’s more, the seminar will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend the event in person. Seating for the event will be very limited and if any seating is left at this point, reservations may be made through Janet Luman at janet@aaf-hg.org, or 376-4521.

Murdock is a highly regarded expert on population trends. His data opened a lot of eyes 10 years ago.

“We asked each other, ‘Who’s planning for our future?’ said Anette Carlisle, Panhandle Twenty/20 director and a founding member of the group’s board director. “We realized no one group was looking ahead in a coordinated way and we saw troubled us,” she added. “Far too few of our residents held advanced degrees, or even high school diplomas and more and more of our families were living in poverty. That’s no way to build a sustainable economy or communities where people want to live,” Carlisle said.

In short, the Panhandle is facing greater challenges as it seeks to compete in the world of business and industry. We’re entering a highly competitive era and we’ll need to do all we can to produce a highly motivated, well-educated work force.

Panhandle Twenty/20 seeks to develop strategies toward that end.

Murdock is coming back to Amarillo to help guide the Panhandle as it continues its journey toward a challenging future. Access the live stream of the presentation at http://www.panhandlePBS.org, beginning at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Sep. 17.

***

Once again, space is very limited for the luncheon. Call Janet Luman at (806) 376-4521 or email her at Janet@aaf-hf.org to make reservations for the luncheon.

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