Skip to main content

How you can benefit

  • Share ideas and best practices among fellow HR professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters

  • Access to continuing education sessions

  • Topics based on talent, workplace trends, HR tools and corporate culture

To receive regular updates, opt in to our email list.

Actively Involved

The Partnership hosted the inaugural HoustonNEXT: An ERG Summit in the fall of 2018, gathering hundreds of HR professionals and ERG leaders to discuss issues in talent attraction and diversity in the workplace. Out of that event, the Partnership launched the Talent Resources Group in 2019 to help connect HR and talent professionals in the region.

Related News

Economic Development

‘Just-in-Time Hiring’ a Luxury of the Past in Post-Pandemic Economy

Gone is the luxury of "just-in-time hiring" and hoping to find talent for immediate needs, according to Tamla Oates-Forney, senior vice president and chief people officer for Fortune 500 company Waste Management.  “We have to be more intentional about determining what we’re going to need and when we’re going to need it, when we need to hire, and the skills we need to develop,” she said during a Partnership Restart Houston event focused on upskilling and reskilling the region’s workforce for the post-pandemic economy. Louise Wiggins, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) partner and managing director, joined Oates-Forney in the conversation, moderated by Peter Beard, Partnership senior vice president of regional workforce development and leader of its UpSkill Houston initiative. Wiggins presented three trends emerging from the ongoing digital transformation of work and reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic with big implications for businesses and organizations large and small: Skills are becoming obsolete more quickly, requiring individuals to re-invent themselves by obtaining new skills. The growing integration of automation and AI is changing what jobs are needed and how those jobs are done. The pace of change has accelerated, making it harder to predict what jobs will be in demand in the future. These trends mean companies must strategically and proactively prepare for an unknown future by focusing on upskilling employees for expanded career pathways and by reconsidering their value propositions. The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative can help employers work together and strengthen talent pipelines for their industries and businesses. Prepare for Diminishing “Half-Life” of Skills The introduction of personal computers and other subsequent technologies during the digital age rapidly accelerated the rate at which some skills, linked to outdated technologies, became obsolete and needed to be replaced. The pandemic quickened the pace.  As Wiggins explained, this “half-life” of skills decreased from 10 years in the 1960’s to two-and-a-half to five years today. Now, working individuals will have to develop new skills and capabilities or “re-invent” themselves three or four times over a career, she said.  But workers are willing to learn.  Findings from a new study from BCG and the corporate online recruiting alliance The Network, include that more than two of every three workers globally are willing to retrain for new jobs, and this willingness is not limited to particular industries or job types. The pandemic emerged amid concerns among workers across industries, job fields and geographies of being replaced by technology; the study shows that anxiety has grown for more than 40 percent of workers globally. More than 70 percent of workers in job roles that faced the greatest risk of replacement – and that felt the worst displacement due to COVID-19 – indicated a willingness to retrain. (UpSkill Houston’s “Navigating the Changing Nature of Work” report discusses this risk within the greater Houston region.) Oates-Forney described how the pandemic-driven adoption of digital technologies are playing out across Waste Management. Distancing rules altered the way drivers clocked in and out; they no longer line up to use a time clock but instead track their time using mobile devices (and learned how to do so), she said. The company evaluated whether jobs could be conducted remotely, in the office or through a hybrid model and some, such as customer service roles, were shifted to remote-only, generating the need for new tools and systems to assess productivity, Oates-Forney said. Waste Management proactively considers the skills it needs within its workforce and approaches career development in terms of movement through a lattice rather than up a ladder. It supports building transferrable skills for broad movement versus "deep domain" building to facilitate progression in one area, Oates-Forney said. It recently partnered with Guild Education to help manage education assistance benefits programs for employees, and partners with community-based organizations to provide supports and wraparound services employees may need to achieve success. Though Guild Education, which focuses its work on frontline workers of Fortune 500 companies, can be a good solution for building skills development programs at scale, companies can also look to community colleges, online courses and community partners to build training and development programs. Reconsider the Value Proposition Focusing on workforce skills, education and support like childcare assistance can help companies offer a strong value proposition to prospective and incumbent workers in competitive labor markets, such as Wiggins described in sectors that experienced high worker layoffs and furloughs at the start of the pandemic but are now trying to reopen. Employers will need to highlight what makes them different and emphasize how a lower wage role is part of a pathway to something bigger, she said. Waste Management’s approach to mobility through career lattices is one example; extending education benefits to employees – and to their families – is another. Additionally, these emphases will help companies drive an equitable recovery, as the pandemic disproportionately sidelined women, Hispanic and Black workers, and workers with less education than a bachelor’s degree.    The pandemic has also pushed managers to lead with more humility, transparency, and compassion. “The past year has accelerated and amplified so many needs in terms of reskilling and upskilling and provided resources and funding [to support them].” Wiggins said. “The other thing that it's taught us is to have compassion for one another and to bring compassion into the workplace.”   To view a recording of this presentation, members can log into the Membership Portal at the top right of this screen. To learn more about membership with the Greater Houston Partnership click here or contact  The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative works to strengthen the talent pipeline employers need to grow their businesses and to help all Houstonians build relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. Learn how.  
Read More
Digital Technology

Robust Cloud Talent a Built-In Competitive Advantage

One of the most powerful tools a business can have at its disposal is the ability to make quick decisions when presented with new information. As work environments and the jobs that drive the region’s economy continue to change, the ability to make these decisions faster will become even more imperative to stay competitive. Managing an effective cloud solution and having the internal talent to maintain and run a cloud system will become table stakes to run the business of the future. Cloud architects, cloud engineers, data and analytics administrators, and security specialists are in great demand, and the potential for remote work in these spaces will make the market an even more competitive one, further enhancing the need for businesses to emphasize this need not later, but today. Every company with IT needs is impacted by cloud. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) Cyberstates 2021 sector assessment, more than 60 percent of Houston’s tech workers are employed by non-tech sector companies. New demands for cloud systems and capabilities are driving demand for talent with specialized skills and, in many cases, opportunities for businesses to upskill current employees who already understand the culture and business. Cloud services, and why businesses need them At its most basic level, the core benefit of a cloud service is that it enables a company's IT resources to be available on demand, configurable, and shareable using remote servers as compared to traditional on-premises systems. This allows businesses to strategically reimagine how to operate and remain profitable and reallocate resources to other areas that otherwise would have been swallowed up by the time, labor, and equipment. In turn, this allows employees to accomplish day-to-day tasks without the burden that comes along with the costs of maintaining these systems. This isn't something that will happen in the future: This is the current way of doing things by many leading businesses. Many common teleconferences platforms, shared data sources, document control models, and customer resource management tools are often currently cloud based. Use of these platforms and tools was only accelerated by the pandemic, particularly in healthcare where urgent needs for additional capacity was met by cloud solutions already being implemented. These trends will continue, as is always the case when technological change begets adaptation and normalization with secondary users who are slower to adapt to these business practices. The future of cloud is real time, analyzable, understandable, and decision-oriented data and business resources. Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and robotics capabilities will only enhance and accelerate the need for businesses of all sizes and stature to understand and harness the power of cloud-based systems. Providing talent solutions for increasing cloud demand Cloud solutions providers recognize a current lag in readily available talent and know-how to maintain viable cloud systems and have taken active steps address the shortfall. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and other cloud providers offer short term, low-cost training certifications on cloud essential skills and competencies that can keep a company’s incumbent workforce competitive and up-to-date on what it will take to keep cloud services working but also, proactively, make cloud a tool for improving the bottom line. Certification courses run the gamut from self-paced modules to instructor led classes, but providers are increasingly partnering with local colleges and universities, broadening opportunities for individuals to upskill and develop these high-value skills. Locally, Houston Community College, Lone Star College and the University of Houston are AWS Academy training partners that offer AWS curriculum. To increase the pool of skilled cloud talent and its diversity, educational institutions are partnering with community organizations to extend their reach and develop the skills needed by employers. For example, Houston Area Urban League’s Urban Tech Jobs Program 2.0 partners with the University of Houston who provides the AWS cloud practitioner and solutions architect courses for the Urban League’s clients. In making certification courses widely available to individuals, community organizations are helping build a more robust and diverse tech talent pool. CompTIA’s recent Workforce and Learning Trends report indicates that companies are renewing focus on worker resilience, with 42 percent of human resources professionals surveyed anticipating new efforts on upskilling and reskilling current employees. Forty-one percent said their companies will have a new emphasis on communication and on emerging tech skills for remote work. The accelerated nature of technological change by its very nature would indicate companies need to be as proactive as possible in staying ahead of what is to come in mitigating for the disruptions that follow. This is particularly imperative when it comes to maintaining a workforce capable of supporting the systems at the heart of any business model. As the line between labor and AI continues to blur moving forward, a business with a trained, experienced workforce will have built in competitive advantages when going to market. Building and maintaining a well-versed cloud organization will be good for business tomorrow, and the resources are currently available to make that happen today.   The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative works to strengthen the talent pipeline employers need to grow their businesses and to help all Houstonians build relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. Learn how.
Read More

Related Events


Membership 101

Do you want to see an overview of membership benefits, build your company engagement plan, discover the best Partnership Programs and Resources that fit your business needs, and learn how to engage your employees…

Learn More
Learn More

“We all go to lots of meetings where we talk about what needs to be fixed but rarely do individuals own the work to make something happen. It’s very impressive how UpSkill Houston has been able to bring everyone together to accomplish common goals.”

Linda Aldred
Texas Children’s Hospital

“The minute I heard there was an opportunity to leverage what the Greater Houston Partnership was doing to make our industry better and our company better, joining UpSkill Houston was a no-brainer.”

Daniel M. Gilbane
Gilbane Building Co.

“I am sitting in Alief Independent School District watching my students' lives change because of efforts like this.”

HD Chambers
Alief Independent School District

"Businesses who want to get their name out and sales professionals who want to increase their sphere of influence won't find a better organization to connect than GHP."

Lisa Bogany
Workforce Solutions

“UpSkill Houston helped us build relationships across sectors and made sure we were all talking about the same issues.”

Brenda Hellyer
San Jacinto Community College

"Houston has a huge amount of raw ingredients needed to launch a startup -- top tier universities, affordable cost of living, tremendous wealth, large corporations -- so the creation of a startup hub in Houston has just been about aligning all these elements under one roof that provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed."

Lawson Gow
Founder & CEO, The Cannon
This program and its benefits are exclusive to Partnership members. Learn more about becoming a company member today.

Ready to become a part of the Talent Resources Group program?

  • Share ideas and best practices among fellow HR professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters
  • Access to continuing education sessions
  • Topics based on talent, workplace trends, HR tools and corporate culture
Sara Roberts
Manager, Member Engagement and Business Resource Groups
Events & Programs
Looking for the rest of our team?
Partnership Staff
Executive Partners