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National Chamber Day: Partnership's Impact

Published Oct 20, 2021 by David Ruiz

Partnership Tower

Partnership Tower

Since 1840, the Greater Houston Partnership has strived to make the Houston region the best place to live, work and build a business. Through the dedicated efforts of our 900 member companies in the 12-county Houston region, the Partnership supports the growth of industry and innovation by convening community-minded business leaders with one goal in mind - to make Houston greater. 

While the world around us is rapidly changing, the Partnership remains committed to our mission-driven work that promotes Houston’s growth. As Houston’s largest regional chamber of commerce and principal business organization, the Partnership is recognizing this year’s Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day by looking back at some of the greatest impacts we’ve made in Houston in the last year. 

Serving as a Robust COVID-19 Resource

The virus’ arrival to Houston in the spring of 2020 drastically changed how the Partnership served our region. Halting in-person interactions to ensure the health and safety of our members, the Partnership quickly shifted major events, programs and meetings to an online environment. Through virtual forums with leading medical experts, as well as comprehensive communications through email, social media and the Partnership’s website, Houston.org, our organization worked closely with leadership at the Texas Medical Center to become a reliable source of COVID-19 data, best business practices, and health and safety information. 

Tom DeBesse, Region Bank President of Houston North Region at Wells Fargo, said staying engaged with the Partnership during this critical time ensured his team remained well informed to make important decisions on employee and customer safety. 

"I can’t tell you how important it has been to stay on top of information regarding COVID-19 as we’ve had to make changes to our daily operations during these difficult times,” DeBesse said. “The Greater Houston Partnership has served as a valuable resource for us—providing timely and useful updates that bring awareness and insight to news, health data, and best practices as it pertains to impacting our local business community."

Convening the Greater Houston Business Community

Serving 900 member companies, the Partnership plays a major role for facilitating local, national and international business connections. Providing an avenue for connections through events, membership networking and business-driven conversations, allows Houston – and businesses to benefit in ways that are most valuable to their company. 

Tracy Weeden, President & CEO of Neuhaus Education Center, said the connections she’s formed through her membership with the Partnership have made a significant impact on her business. 

“Becoming a member of the Partnership was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made as a CEO,” Weeden said. “Even though I’m leading a nonprofit, the ability to cross-pollinate with organizations in various industries is extremely helpful. Interacting and benefiting from the thought leadership in the business community has shown me that they are really tackling the same issues we are facing.”

Impact-Driven

The Partnership work to promote economic development and trade is reflected through our initiatives and economic development projects. Most recently, the Partnership launched the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, which will be guided by a strategic regional blueprint for leading the global energy transition to a low-carbon world. This initiative demonstrates the collective impact the Partnership makes when convening key stakeholders across industry, government and academia and highlights the organization's work to position Houston among the great global cities of the future.

Steve Clarke, Division Vice President of Jacobs and Chair of the Partnership’s Infrastructure and Resiliency Advisory Committee, said he’s proud to play a role in the Partnership’s impact to infrastructure projects around the region. 

“It is not often that you get to be part of a legacy project that will ultimately protect millions of our fellow Texans and change the way that we all look at Coastal Resilience,” Clarke said. “Thanks to the Greater Houston Partnership and the members of the Infrastructure Resiliency Advisory Committee, that I’ve had the honor of chairing the past 2 years, for your advocacy and lobbying that have made coastal infrastructure projects like this and many others possible.”

Learn more about the Partnership’s impact. Have a testimonial you'd like to share with us? Share your story with our Member Engagement team

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Living In Houston

12 Popular Houston Neighborhoods for Newcomers 

11/12/21
12 Popular Houston Neighborhoods for Newcomers  As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Houston is diverse and brimming with opportunity. The metro region boasts a strong quality of life and low cost of living that draws new residents from across the country and around the world.  Whether you want to cheer on your favorite sports team or indulge in one of the nation’s most sophisticated dining landscapes, Houston truly has something for everyone. The size of greater Houston can seem daunting at first, especially for newcomers deciding where to put down roots. We broke down 12 of the area’s most popular neighborhoods and what they have to offer. Find a Family-Friendly Suburban Feel in Bellaire/Meyerland  For those looking to own a home in a family-centric area with excellent school districts, Bellaire is a good option. Located in southwest Houston, this neighborhood has a suburban feel but is still close enough to the heart of downtown to enjoy some of the city’s best attractions, such as the Houston Zoo and top-rated Houston Children’s Museum! Don’t want to go too far? Bellaire has plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, kid-friendly breweries, parks and more for residents to enjoy!  Click to expand Kemah area. Soak in the waterfront views in Clear Lake Midway between Houston and Galveston, Clear Lake, also known as the Bay Area, hosts a variety of water recreational activities, such as fishing and water sports. This residential district is also home to Space Center Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk and countless seafood restaurants. There is plenty to do here for the outdoorsman/woman, and great public schools that are highly rated.  Click to expand White Rhino in EaDo Dive into a Budding Urban Community in EaDo  East Downtown, more commonly called EaDo, is a growing neighborhood with exceptional city views, concert venues, diverse dining options and year-round sporting events. In fact, Houston has six professional major league teams, including the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros and the NBA Finals Champions Houston Rockets. The neighborhood is not only convenient for those looking to catch a game, it’s also near the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world. Click to expand The Williams Water Wall is just steps from the Galleria in Uptown Create Memories in the Cosmopolitan Energy of Galleria/Uptown  Centrally located in the City’s Uptown District, the Galleria/Uptown neighborhood offers more than 700 retailers, exquisite restaurants and luxury hotels. It’s also home to Texas' largest shopping mall and center for high-fashion retail, The Galleria. In addition to trendy shopping centers and eateries, this is also the 17th largest business district in the U.S. If loft living and fine dining is your preference, this might just be the location for you.  Cozy Up to Small-Town Charm with Garden Oaks/Oak Forest  Oak Forest and Garden Oaks are two adjoining neighborhoods nestled just north of the 610 Loop. Close to large parks accompanied by spacious backyards and lots, this predominately residential neighborhood is known for its green spaces, featuring oak, pecan and pine trees. The area has a small-town atmosphere with big city benefits. Garden Oaks/Oak Forrest boasts several options for schools and family-friendly amenities. Click to expand White Oak Bayou wends through the Heights Jump into One of Houston’s Oldest Neighborhoods - The Heights  Northwest of downtown is the historic Houston Heights. This is one of Houston’s oldest planned communities, dating back to the late 1800s, and is well known for its signature bungalows. The Heights also offers a wide variety of activities, including antique stores, farmers markets and patio restaurants. With 450 Yelp-rated establishments and well-preserved Victorian architecture, this neighborhood has plenty to offer locals, tourists and new residents alike.   Embrace the Eclectic in Montrose  Celebrate art, nightlife and a wide variety of unique small businesses in the vibrant Montrose neighborhood just west of downtown, bordering Houston’s Museum District. Grab some java at one of the many coffee shops or a specialty cocktail at a signature bar. This pedestrian-oriented enclave is a great place to live for the creative minds looking for a place that offers diversity and inspiration. Indulge in Major Green Spaces and Shopping Centers in Memorial  Memorial offers walking trails, reputable schools and several retail developments, including Memorial City, Town & Country Village and the widely popular CityCentre. It’s one of the largest and most affluent neighborhoods of Houston, spanning over 80 miles. This is a great option for families that’s not only close to downtown and The Galleria, but one of the largest urban parks in the country.  Leap into Trendy Midtown  Packed with high-rise apartments, eclectic restaurants and a vibrant late-night scene, Midtown is a popular choice for young professionals. Situated between downtown and the Museum District, Midtown is where you’ll find a wide array of choices to explore the best Houston has to offer, all within walking distance. Click to expand Outside the main building of the Menil Collection Stay Near the Heart of Houston’s Culture in the Museum District  This aptly named neighborhood is home to 19 world-class museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Houston Children’s Museum. The cultural institutions featured in this tree-lined neighborhood attract more than seven million visitors every year and appeal to every interest of all ages. The neighborhood is next to the Texas Medical Center and just a few blocks away from Rice University, making it an attractive option for employees of those institutions to live, work and play.  Live in the Nationally Ranked Suburban - Sugar Land  Sugar Land is located 20 minutes south of Houston and is steadily growing as more and more families choose to call it home. Much of Sugar Land is devoted to residential use, and Fort Bend and Lamar Consolidated ISD are major draws for families with children. The area’s also garnered national recognition as one of the safest midsize cities in America. Incorporated as a city in 1959, Sugar Land continues to grow rapidly with new attractions such as Constellation Field, home of the minor league Sugar Land Skeeters and the Smart Financial Centre, a performing arts venue.  Click to expand The Woodlands Town Center Explore the Heavily Forested Area of The Woodlands  Appropriately named for its development in and around 28,000 tree-filled acres, this master planned community has so much to offer any and all lifestyles. Hiking, kayaking, golfing and attending concerts are just a few ways residents of The Woodlands spend their days. It is also home to many corporate campuses and is conveniently located just 28 miles north of downtown Houston. Public schools are also highly rated, making this an ideal location for families.  Visit the Houston Neighborhoods & Communities page to learn more about the many different regions and neighborhoods of the city. Find out more about what Houston has to offer with Here is Houston: The Official Relocation & Newcomer Guide.    
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Digital Technology

Digital Skills: Creating Pathways to Opportunity

10/27/21
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a fundamental shift already underway toward digitalization of workplaces and workflows across the regional and global economy. The rate at which employers have adopted and integrated new technologies is increasing. So has the reliance on data to optimize output and productivity and to minimize cost.  This shift means many workers will need to enhance and develop the skills necessary to keep pace with these shifts – and to be successful. Companies are finding themselves in need of talent with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s digital economy, while at the same time workers are seeking meaningful, rewarding work. General Assembly (GA) was founded in in 2011, when the country was coming out of the last recession and recession and tech startups were rapidly emerging, traditional companies were seeking digitally skilled talent, and opportunities for people to acquire new skillsets to pursue careers in these sectors were not widely available. The pioneering educational organizations is known for helping people transform their careers, specializing in the day’s most in-demand skills and for embedding networking opportunities, mentorship and other activities that propel students toward employment.   Tom Ogletree, General Assembly’s vice president of Social Impact and External Affairs, shared during an October UpSkill Works Forum called “Digital Skills: Powering Houston’s Future!” how General Assembly builds programs to meet both employer and workforce needs. “Being able to see both sides of this talent marketplace has really given us a front row seat to some of the evolutions that have been happening as all companies are becoming to one degree or another tech companies,” Ogletree said. “Digital skills are required for categories across sectors, across disciplines, and that there needs to be a reimagining of the ways that people acquire new skills to stay relevant in a really dynamic labor market and a very rapidly changing economy.” GA stays in tune with market needs to ensure that the skills it teaches have real market value. Its in-depth courses help individuals build skillsets and capabilities in areas like product management, data analysis, and user experience (UX) design, and it offers programs to help people completely pivot into tech-based careers. Its experiential and immersive courses are taught by industry practitioners who bring field experience and context to the classroom and are portfolio-driven to allow students to work on the types of projects they will be doing once they graduate and so that graduates can demonstrate the skills they’ve developed through their own work, Ogletree said. The organization’s more basic programs and workshops are designed to help introduce people to a “digital-first” mindset and some of the necessary skills to understand whether they would be a good fit for a type of tech-based careers before they make the commitment to enroll in an in-depth, and much longer – and more expensive (although subsidies and scholarships are available) – course, he said. 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It is currently working with Accenture to source candidates for an applied intelligence/data science and analytics apprenticeship in Houston.  General Assembly’s dedicated career coaches work with students throughout their coursework and beyond graduation, helping them think about how to position their personal brands or previous experience and prepare for interviews. General Assembly boasts a 91 percent placement rate of students within three months of graduating and close to 100 percent within a year, Ogletree said, though he acknowledged that these numbers are likely to show decline during the recent labor market fluctuations.  “If the value proposition that we provide to students is that you're going to get a job at the end of this, we need to make sure that your whoever hires you is very satisfied,” Ogletree said. “When we work with large scale enterprises, we're trying to make sure that they're really seeing a return on investment on trainings and investments in their own people.”    When BakerRipley sought to pilot a program to help adult learners without experience break into tech fields, it turned to General Assembly. The organization was drawn to General Assembly’s approach, which embraces what the whole student for success and retention, including wraparound services through social supports and employment coaches, financial options that provide true access for income-constrained students, strong outcomes in obtaining employment, and cohort learning for social skill building, according to Cara Baez, BakerRipley Center for Excellence Senior Director. A cohort of about a dozen students are currently working through a BakerRipley tech bridge program, where they’re learning technical and soft skills to prepare them for General Assembly’s in-depth education program.  GA’s student support is key, say BakerRipley’s Director of Learning and Workforce Initiatives Angela Johnson and Mobility Coach Diana Delgado. GA’s ability to allow students to “try-on” careers helps them make informed decisions about committing to an educational pathway toward a particular career. Its career support lets students “on-ramp” while they’re in training and minimizes any gap between course completion and looking for (or finding) a job. What’s more: “They have a really robust post-training service that is connecting students to real jobs and real employers,” Johnson said. “Every tool students need for placement is available to them with General Assembly.” “They go into this pathway knowing they’re going to be supported all the way,” Delgado added.   UpSkill Houston is the Partnership’s nationally recognized, employer-led initiative that mobilizes the collective action of employers, educators, and community-based leaders to strengthen the talent pipeline the region’s employers need to grow their businesses and to help all Houstonians develop relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. BakerRipley is an UpSkill Houston initiative partner. See all previous UpSkill Works forums here.
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