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      • Our Vision, Mission and Values

        The Austin Area Research Organization is a non-partisan nonprofit organization that builds on the savvy and brainpower of 100 leaders from the Central Texas region.


        AARO was founded in 1980 by a group of CEOs who found themselves needing a forum for discussion of issues faced by rapidly growing Central Texas—issues that would impact the region’s ability to thrive if they weren’t tackled head on.


        The armillary symbolizes our attempts to keep our vision on the far horizon, not the immediate future. It also embodies AARO’s efforts to find our way, working together, to solutions to our region’s thorniest problems.


        Our officers are a diverse team of thought leaders that serve as the governing body of AARO. Learn more about our officers, committee chairs and vice chairs.


        AARO’s members are Central Texas thought leaders. They bring diverse perspectives about important long-term issues and work to share AARO insights with a variety of public policy and decision-making bodies in Central Texas.


        AARO’s staff supports the members as they carry out AARO’s mission to advance the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas. Our small but mighty team brings experience, dedication, and a passion for Central Texas.
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      • About Our Committees

        AARO accomplishes its mission to advance the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas by actively engaging regional leaders in data-driven deliberative action in these five priority areas.

        Health Care

        AARO is committed to the successful creation of an academic medical school and research complex on the University of Texas at Austin campus—a facility that once seemed like an unattainable dream but is now Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and scheduled to accept its first class in 2016.

        Energy and Water

        Water and energy—few other issues are as fundamental to the very survival of Central Texas. AARO’s focus is on long-term strategies to expand our region’s water supply and to ensure an uninterrupted flow of affordable power for 21st Century Texas.

        P-16 Education

        Central Texas is a region of extraordinary economic success, yet our absenteeism rates are among the highest in the state. AARO is not sitting idly by, wishing things were different. Instead, we conceived and helped midwife the birth of the E3 Alliance.

        Social Equity

        AARO believes that poverty and a lack of equality in our community can—and already are—holding Central Texas back from achieving true excellence. The Social Equity Committee did extensive research on a core issue—the widening income gap between those who have not completed their educations and those who have.


        Transportation and its ugly stepsister—traffic—test off the charts as concerns for Central Texans. AARO is tackling every aspect of making the Central Texas region as efficient as it can be in building and improving new roads, tollways, rail lines, bus systems and bike lanes.
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Research Findings

Home/Research Findings

Drowning in the Central Texas Drought

On February 26th, Austin Area Research Organization released “Drowning in the Central Texas Drought.” The White Paper provides facts about the current drought and Austin’s water supply, and asks, Given the current drought, does it make sense for Austin’s water supply to be solely depending on the amount of rainfall that enters the Highland Lakes? The document also provides recommended actions for the City of Austin. Click here to read “Drowning in the Central Texas Drought.” FACTS: 1) Central Texas is currently in the midst of a major drought. 2) Central Texas’ population continues to grow. 3) The City of Austin has only one source of water. THE BOTTOM LINE: If future rainfall runoff to the Highland Lakes mirrors the last four years, the lakes may contain only three to seven years of an adequate water supply, even with aggressive conservation. ACTION ITEM: The City of Austin and Lower Colorado River Authority should work together with a renewed sense of urgency to analyze conditions and evaluate new water supply options.

AARO members encourage regional support for Austin Community College Propositions 1, 2, and 3

On Monday, September 15, 2014, AARO members approved the following public statement in support of Austin Community College District’s Propositions 1, 2, & 3: The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) urges Central Texas voters to vote yes on the Austin Community College District’s Bond Propositions 1 & 2, and Proposition 3, the Maintenance and Operations tax cap question in this November’s Election. As an organization dedicated to advancing the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas, AARO is strongly committed to a system of public and higher education which is accessible to all Central Texans and meets the region’s growing and changing workforce demands. We understand that our region’s long-term success is directly connected to the quality of its education system, which directly benefits our residents and produces the workforce necessary to ensure economic prosperity. Austin Community College District (ACC) is a critical piece of Central Texas’ education system. ACC fulfills this region’s educational and workforce development needs in a variety of critical and innovative ways, such as: Workforce training, Early college/high school dual credit, Associate degrees, Career/technical certificates, Core curriculum/university transfer, and Continuing education. As business and civic leaders, AARO members have a vested interest in ensuring the region’s educational system continues to produce a high quality pool of talent to drive future business success and economic prosperity throughout the state. Access to high quality education at all levels is critical to the welfare of our region, and we are pleased that ACC provides many levels of these educational opportunities for Central Texans. In addition, AARO members recognize that there is a cost to ensuring quality throughout our region’s educational system. The long-term economic welfare of Central Texas requires that we find the [...]

By |September 23rd, 2014|Categories: AARO News, Social Equity|0 Comments

Career Expressway: Labor Market Analysis

AARO contracted with the Ray Marshall Center to research the Central Texas regional labor market in order to identify occupations in growth sectors that pay well while requiring less education than a baccalaureate degree, probe preparedness and credentialing capacity, and investigate employer perspectives regarding growth and opportunity in these occupations.

Building and Retaining an Affordable Austin

On November 5th, City of Austin voters approved $65 M in general obligation bonds for affordable housing. The proposal passed with about 60% of the vote.

School Attendance in Central Texas Improving After Region-Wide Efforts

Region-wide efforts to decrease student absences in Central Texas have been working! After reaching an all time high in 2010, student absences in Central Texas declined between 2011 and 2013, even despite student enrollment growth.

By |September 20th, 2013|Categories: Education, Research Findings|0 Comments