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Houston-Area School Reopening Plans

The safe reopening of Houston area schools is critical to our region’s ongoing economic recovery. Parents and their employers need to have a clear sense of when school districts will begin offering in-person instruction to effectively make their own plans. That said, the health and safety of our children, teachers and staff should be the paramount concern. The Partnership has compiled the reopening plans of area districts to help companies in the region make informed decisions.

District Breakdown

Houston area independent school districts have developed plans around virtual and in-person instruction based on the situation in their particular part of the region. Plans will likely be adjusted week to week. The Partnership will maintain and update this spreadsheet as new information becomes available. Last reviewed on October 6. 

District Reopening Plans

COVID-19 Business Forum: Regional Back to School Update

Equitable access to connectivity and ensuring students receive school meals are two of several priorities greater Houston education leaders are incorporating into plans for the upcoming school year. The Partnership hosted a webinar on school reopening plans held on July 29 featuring Dr. Rodney Watson, Superintendent of Spring Independent School District, and Dr. Pam Wells, Executive Director of Region 4 Education Service Center.

Media Articles and Other Reports on School Reopening

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Economic Development

UpSkill Houston Recognized in National Workforce Development Playbook

HOUSTON (April 26, 2021)  –  For the last seven years, the Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative has played a leading role in mobilizing the collective action of industry, business, education, and nonprofit leaders across the region to strengthen the pipeline of skilled workers and create better pathways to opportunity and prosperity for all residents. The initiative has focused primarily on careers that require education and skills beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree. UpSkill Houston partners and leaders have supported and influenced similar workforce development efforts in other parts of the country, from Corpus Christi and San Antonio in Texas to Tampa and Gainesville in Florida and the Buffalo-Niagara region of New York.  Now, as the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic that drove national unemployment rates to historic highs and the need for workers to upskill and stay in stride with the accelerating pace of technological change has grown, UpSkill Houston’s model for employer engagement is being exemplified in a new workforce development playbook designed to help local leaders across the country develop successful programs for workers who do not hold four-year bachelor’s degrees.  “A New Path Forward: Place-Based Solutions for a Stronger Workforce Ecosystem,” released by Accelerate for America, a non-profit consortium of mayors, labor and business leaders, and urban and economic development experts, presents four actionable best practices for local leaders and stakeholders to follow as they develop their own workforce ecosystems. The playbook calls for a demand-driven approach to workforce development placing employers central to closing the existing gaps between their workforce demands and workers’ employment needs and inequities that have only widened during the pandemic. The guide features Bryant Black, the Partnership’s director of regional workforce development, along with a case study describing how UpSkill Houston followed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management® strategies to convene industry councils addressing workforce struggles and successes and to codify the competencies in highest demand. The councils also connect individuals whose work intersected but might not otherwise have had opportunities to collaborate. The feature also highlights UpSkill Houston’s intentional shift to a skills-based approach for these convenings to align competencies that cut across industries, and its focus on developing career pathways and upskilling progressions through employer-trainer partnerships. Other programs highlighted include digital skills education company General Assembly, the Markle Foundation’s career coaching-focused Skillful initiative, and Opportunity@Work’s talent marketplace for individuals skilled through alternative routes (STARs) (as opposed to through four-year bachelor’s programs), with additional insights provided by former President Barack Obama, Vice President Kamala Harris, and first lady Dr. Jill Biden.  Peter Beard, Partnership senior vice president of regional workforce development and UpSkill Houston’s leader, is featured in an accompanying playbook video.  See Accelerator for America’s workforce development playbook “A New Path Forward.” UpSkill Houston is an employer-led initiative of the Partnership that mobilizes the collective action of more than 200 critical stakeholders to strengthen the pipeline of skilled workers that employers need and to create better pathways to opportunity and prosperity for all Houstonians. Learn how.   ### Greater Houston Partnership The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 11 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at
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Houston Companies Planning Return to Offices, Plot Post-COVID Changes

Twenty-eight percent of Houston area companies say they have already fully reopened their offices and worksites as the region continues its recovery from COVID-19. Another 9% are planning to fully reopen in April or May and 21% believe they will reopen in June, July or August, according to a new survey by the Greater Houston Partnership of its member companies. September is the target date for 11% of companies while another 3% say it will be October or later. A substantial number (28%) say they haven’t yet determined a reopening date. The vast majority (83%) of respondents said the decision to reopen will be made at the local level and 69% said they will stagger employee return during their reopening instead of calling everyone back at the same time.  Roughly two-thirds (64%) of companies have made decisions on their in-person vs. remote work approach going forward.  Of those, 80% are going to expect employees to be in the office three or more days a week.  When it comes to vaccine protocols, 75% of companies say they will encourage but not require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work. Just 6% say they will require the vaccine before employees can return and the remaining 19% have not yet determined a formal plan. Many respondents said a key factor in deciding when to return to the office is that all staff have access to the vaccine.  As new COVID-19 cases in our region decline and more Houstonians get vaccinated, area businesses are beginning to contemplate what the “new normal” will look like post-pandemic and when to begin moving in that direction. “We deployed this survey to help guide companies on that next leg of the journey,” said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey. “These results tell us that companies are eagerly encouraging their employees to get vaccinated and preparing to bring employees back into the workplace in a carefully considered, safe manner.”  “I want to be clear, we are not out of danger yet; serious virus variants are present in Houston, and more residents need to be vaccinated in the coming weeks before we can definitively declare the worst over,” Harvey said. “Nevertheless, with all adult Texans now eligible for the vaccine and dose availability continuing to ramp up, companies need to prepare now for how they will effectively manage in a post-COVID environment.”  A total of 133 companies responded to the Partnership survey conducted March 22-25. Nearly half of respondents (46%) said they are comfortable attending in-person events today while another 25% said they won’t be ready for in-person events until the CDC declares the nation has reached herd immunity. The remaining respondents said they expect to be comfortable over the next few months.  How companies will assist their employees in the new hybrid environment was the focus of another survey question. Thirty-three percent said they have offered some form of payment/reimbursement to employees to outfit their home workspaces and another 10% say they are considering such a program. Click here for a PDF of the topline results of the survey. 
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Economic Development

International Business Month - Business Beyond Borders "Go Beyond"

The Greater Houston Partnership will host a conversation on business and tourism opportunities between Houston and Mexico, including Houston First Corporation's "Hola Houston" campaign. Speakers include: …

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Executive Partners