Greater Houston Partnership (GHP)

UpSkill Houston

UpSkill Houston

The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative is the nation’s first business-led, community-wide, integrated workforce effort. The initiative focuses on closing the skills gap in Houston by increasing the number of Houstonians trained for great careers across the region. The Partnership forecasts nearly 75,000 annual jobs openings in these “middle skills” careers that require more than a high school education but less than a four-year college degree.

UpSkill Houston has three key objectives:

Career Connections:

Other Resources

UpSkill Houston Collective Impact Workshop

On June 30, the Partnership convened a special UpSkill Houston Collective Impact Workshop to help industry, education and community leaders better plan, organize and develop solutions for Houston's workforce challenge.

The two-day workshop, led by Peter Beard, Senior Vice President, Regional Workforce at the Partnership, featured John Kania and Matt Wilka of FSG - one of the nation's top social change consulting firms. The workshop and breakout sessions provided an overview of the documented effectiveness of collective impact strategies, how to increase participation and buy-in across the business, education and non-profit sectors, how to build on the progress of UpSkill Houston and how to move the initiative forward in 2015 and beyond.

Materials from the meeting can be accessed below.

UpSkill Houston Workforce Development Summit

On November 12, GHP held the UpSkill Houston Workforce Summit which brought together industry, education and community leaders to discuss the middle skills workforce challenges and solutions for Houston and the nation, and provided an update on UpSkill Houston’s progress and 2015 agenda.

The event featured a number of expert panels and a luncheon keynote from Joe Fuller of Harvard Business School, who discussed the U.S. Competitiveness Project and the role companies can play in creating supply-demand alignment. The U.S. Competitiveness Project is a research-led effort by Harvard Business School to identify practical steps to strengthen the nation’s economy, with recent emphasis on beefing up job skills, K-12 education, transportation and infrastructure.

In addition, JPMorgan Chase released an important report, “Preparing Houston to Skill Up, Addressing the Skills Mismatch to Meet Employer Demand in High-Growth Industries.”

Opening Session – Keynote Address

Building a Demand-Driven Workforce System: A National Perspective
Fred Dedrick, Executive Director, National Fund for Workforce Solutions

What’s NEW: Houston’s at Work to Solve Skills Gap

JPMorgan Chase’s “Closing the Skills Gap” Report
Dr. Gloria Mwase, Jobs for the Future

Workskills Gap In Houston: New Solutions from K-12
Dr. HD Chambers, Superintendent, Alief Independent School District

Accelerate Lone Star: Fast Track to Careers
Dr. Nadia Nazarenko, Lone Star College

United Way THRIVE Family Financial Stability Collaborative
Lynne Liberato, Board Member, United Way of Greater Houston

What’s NEXT: Apprenticeships, Summer Employment & Summer Institutes Panel Discussion

The New Evolution of Apprenticeship
Brandon Spence, Apprenticeship Consultant, South Carolina Technical College System

Project GRAD Houston Summer College Institutes
Dr. Ann Stiles, Executive Director, Project GRAD

Keynote Address

U.S. Competitiveness: Building America’s Middle Skills
Joseph Fuller, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School

JPMorgan Chase Report

Preparing Houston to Skill Up, Addressing the Skills Mismatch to Meet Employer Demand in High-Growth Industries

Workforce Development Action Plan

Program Information

The Houston region has experienced incredible growth over the last several years. Led by a resurgence in energy, petrochemicals, manufacturing, life sciences, and construction, the region’s economy has been widely acclaimed as a city of opportunity and a great place to do business.

While this is all largely true, leaders from across the business community have identified one of the region’s most pressing issues that is critical to our continued success: workforce development. We must develop a qualified employee base properly trained for tomorrow’s job needs or face an understaffed economy that will stifle the growth and vitality of our region. We must also ensure that young people in Greater Houston have the skills and opportunities to enter the workforce and build successful careers, raise families and prosper.

To address the challenge, the Greater Houston Partnership developed UpSkill Houston, a comprehensive, industry-led approach to bridge the gap and fill jobs in middle-skills occupations.

UpSkill Houston is an innovative blueprint for leaders from the business community, educational institutions and social service organizations to utilize as we lead this effort to build a quality workforce.


The Greater Houston Partnership Salutes Our Executive Partners
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