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How You Can Give Back in Houston this Giving Tuesday

11/30/21
Every fall, people from around the world come together and perform generous acts of kindness to better their communities and support nonprofits in need. This global movement is called Giving Tuesday and takes place today, Nov. 30!  For those looking to get involved and participate in the giving season this year, we have compiled a few organizations that provide convenient ways for Houstonians to donate their time and/or provide monetary gifts.  Houston Food Bank The Houston Food Bank fights food insecurity by distributing essentials to those in need as well as providing programs and services that help families achieve long-term stability. You can help the Houston Food Bank by giving funds, food or simply your time.  Donate - Every $1 provides a full day of meals to those in need Collect - Host a food drive to get your friends, family, business or organization involved Drop In the Red Barrel - Red Barrels can be found in grocery stores throughout the Houston area for fast, convenient donations. Click here for more ways to give Toys For Tots  When you donate to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation, you give children in need a reason to believe in their future. The organization distributes toys to low-income families throughout the entire country and directly contributes to the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – the next generation. The goal is not only to help children from low-income families experience a special holiday season, but to help them become responsible, productive and patriotic citizens. Click here to learn how you can positively impact a child’s holiday season  United Way  United Way of Greater Houston helps Houstonians overcome barriers to achieve success and thrive by providing tools, resources and educational support to individuals and families. United Way helps fund dozens of partner nonprofits that also directly serve the community. This can range anywhere from quality out-of-school programs to basic and immediate needs like food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Last year, United Way helped 2 million people in the Houston region. Partner with United Way by making a donation or joining their volunteer force to give back. Click here to donate today    Giving Tuesday is a perfect time to get involved in your community. However, the charitable spirit behind Giving Tuesday does not need to be confined to one day. Give back all year round by supporting causes and movements that help shape a better tomorrow. Learn more about how the Partnership is helping advance the region’s growth and creating opportunities for all.   
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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. GA works with employer clients to build in-house tech talent, too – particularly employers that might not seem like tech companies but are increasingly in need of digitally skilled talent. Fewer than a quarter of Houston’s net tech workers – workers in technical occupations or for a “tech” company – are in technical occupations at “tech” companies, and more than 60 percent of tech workers in Houston work at non-tech companies, according to Partnership analysis of the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA) Cyberstates 2021 report. GA also works directly with employers to build digital academies to reach untapped talent:  for example, it partnered with Adobe to build a fully subsidized program to bring members of under-represented populations into its tech workforce – the program leads to apprenticeship opportunities with the company. 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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Partnership Week: New Member Mixer

New Partnership members are invited to a special networking session where you'll get to know fellow Partnership members and staff. We highly encourage new Partnership members within their first two…

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Centers for Small Business

The Houston office of the U.S. Small Business Administration helps connect companies and entrepreneurs with the tools and resources necessary for success. 

The Small Business Development Center at the University of Houston offers workshops, advisory services, research assistance and much more for small businesses in the area. 

Free consulting on finding contracting opportunities that match your business.

The WBEA provides support to entrepreneurs in education, scholarships, and matchmaking with corporate contracting offices. We are committed to inspiring and empowering women who want to start or expand their business.

Promoting the growth and success of local small businesses, with special emphasis on historically underutilized groups by ensuring their meaningful participation in the government procurement process.

Provides quality business education, access to capital, business support services and alumni service for business owned who are poised to grow.

The Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) has been providing business development services to minority business enterprises (MBEs) for over 47 years.  HMSDC provides MBEs the opportunity to connect face-to-face with many of America’s largest public institutions and private sectors companies.  The mission of HMSDC is to actively involve our members in efforts that will increase and expand business opportunities and business growth for Minority Business Enterprises and to drive excellence in supplier diversity and supplier development.

A small business program that provides resources, education, and connection to capital to help Houston-area entrepreneurs start or expand a business.

Rice University’s Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is partnering with The Ion to provide education and insight to small business owners, helping them return to normal operations and recover from the closures.

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