Thursday October 2, 2014 from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM CDT
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Arthur Outlaw Convention Center 
1 S Water Street
Mobile, AL 36602

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Janice Rivers 
Mobile Area Education Foundation 

Register Now!

Summit Registration fee is $35 per person
(includes all summit materials and lunch) 

Dear Community Stakeholder,

The Mobile Area Education Foundation (MAEF) requests your presence at our Graduate Ready Summit on Thursday October 2, 2014 at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile, AL. The Graduate Ready Summit is sponsored in partnership with the America’s Promise Alliance, and is one of 100 Grad Nation Community Summits being hosted across the nation.

Graduating students ready for career and college is vital to economic development in our region. The Graduate Ready Summit will engage community stakeholder groups in a collaborative effort to ensure that Mobile’s education pipeline will supply college and career ready graduates for the entire Gulf Coast region.  In order to see a continual rise in Mobile County’s graduation rate, MAEF has worked hand in hand with the public education system to develop multiple pathways, so that all students can attain success in both post-secondary education and the workforce. 

DISCUSSION PANEL: Education - A Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

A panel consisting of leaders in civil rights, education and economic development will lead a discussion about education as a civil rights issue of our time for the entire community to ensure equity of access and success for all students.


  • The Lenses of Extended Learning Experiences - Panelists will share best-practices that will heighten the level of awareness of volunteers relative to how they can best render services to students.
  • Barriers to Graduation - This session will provide ways to get students back on track socially and emotionally using the following questions as a framework to re-engagement: 1) How is Mobile building support for those who need support? 2) How do we know we’re successful? 3) What do we need to move to the next level?
  • Graduate Ready Schools - Local educators, regional school districts, and business leaders will have the opportunity to examine the roles of various partners in fostering Graduate Ready Schools.
  • Graduate Ready for What? - Participants will hear perspectives from local and national leaders about the implications of not having enough students completing post-secondary paths.


                                Luncheon Sponsored by


Education: A Strategy to Economic Development

Obstacles Into Opportunities
Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama 


JIM WILLIAMS, Executive Director

Jim Williams is Executive Director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), a non-profit, non-partisan organization formed in 1988 to provide objective research to improve state and local government as well as public education in Alabama.

Over the last 26 years, PARCA has publicized numerous research reports covering various topics related to state and local government and public education. The staff has won nine national awards for research excellence.

Before coming to Alabama in 1988, Jim worked for 16 years in governmental research agencies located in Texas and Michigan. He is a past president of the Governmental Research Association of the United States. He was raised in Mineola, Texas, and holds a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a master's degree from the University of Michgan, both in political science.

NEAL WADE, Chairman of the Board

In early 2013, Neal Wade was named Chairman of the Board for the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. In 2003, he was appointed by Governor Bob Riley as Alabama Secretary of Commerce and served in the position for almost eight years. He also served two stints at the Florida based St. Joe Company, was the first President/CEO of the economic Development Partnership of Alabama and also is the current chairman of the four-state Aerospace Alliance (Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida), the third largest aerospace corridor in the world.

Wade is a graduate of Samford University and he and his wife, MaryAnn, have three children and six grandchildren.

Register Now!

Summit Registration fee is $35 per person (includes all summit materials and lunch)