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Business Executives and Employers Lead the Way

The Houston region has experienced incredible growth over the last few years and its economy recognized globally as one of opportunity. But in Greater Houston, as in many regions around the globe, too many people lack the skills or credentials they need to compete for 21st century jobs and too many businesses and employers are unable to find the workers they need, when and where they need them.  These gaps have reached critical proportions among Houston’s 1.4 million “middle-skills” jobs – advanced technical and craft careers that require education and training beyond high school but not a four-year college degree.

The Greater Houston Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative helps address the regional skills gap and people gap.  With business executives and employers leading the way, UpSkill brings together industry leaders, educators, community organizations and government agencies to build a strong talent pipeline for critical careers and to provide opportunities for residents to share in the region’s economic prosperity.

Since its founding in 2014, UpSkill Houston has become inextricably linked with the region’s global competitiveness, and its success hinges on business leadership.  If you are up for putting talent first in your business and in Greater Houston, join the Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative.

Addressing a Cross-Sector Challenge Through Common Language and Collective Action

UpSkill Houston is employer-driven, and educational institutions and community organizations share important roles in its collaborative effort. Among the keys to the initiative’s success are employer leadership, common language and collective action.

UpSkill Houston encourages different groups addressing the same problem to establish a common goal, align their efforts, pursue separate tactics, and share results.  It breaks down barriers and fosters a broad dialogue that brings all sectors of Houston’s economy together to create a singular vision and powerful solutions to expand the talent pipeline to the benefit of citizens and industries across the region.

This approach has reinforced existing efforts, while spurring new coalitions, and it’s working in not just one area but in multiple industries that are coming together.

Creating a Societal Mind Shift

For years, the traditional path from high school to four-year college to a career has been presented as THE path to success; but it has left a critical gap in the workplace. By highlighting well-paid, rewarding careers that require less than a four-year college degree, UpSkill Houston presents an alternative path. By working with industry leaders and educators, UpSkill is pushing toward a societal mind shift—success does not require a four-year college degree.

Students are beginning to explore careers before high school; and educators, businesses, and community organizations are coming together to present education that’s meaningful to students and meaningful to the economy.

UpSkill Houston has been working to provide resources to educators and community organizations as they help inspire students and parents to explore the myriad good paying careers that offer stability, opportunity for growth, and a great quality of life available in Houston’s regional economy after only two years or less of post-high school education or training.

The tools on this website present comprehensive information on numerous middle-skill jobs, training and educational requirements, salary ranges, and career pathways for career seekers, educators and partners.

Jobseekers can use this tool to match their skill sets with those that industry employers need plus obtain educational training opportunities from local community college partners. The website is sponsored and operated by Gulf Coast petrochemical employers and supported by JPMorgan Chase.

This site introduces prominent area employers to students, parents and educators through compelling stories focused on employees and their paths toward “middle-skill” careers. The stories serve to change the perception that the traditional path from high school to a four-year college to a career is the best path to success.

In order to continue improving our talent pipeline, it is essential that employers continue to provide leadership and assume responsibility. Employers are in the best position to know how many workers they need, what skills and competencies those workers require to be successful in an occupation, and from where they get their best talent. It is essential also for educators, community organizations and government agencies to remain strong collaborative partners in this effort.

UpSkill Houston helps create the workforce Greater Houston’s regional economy requires while helping individuals build careers that improve their lives.

"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

"We’re getting the skills we need, and we’re changing the trajectory of people’s lives.”

Bob Catudal

“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

“Now the expectation in Houston is that if you’re doing anything around workforce—whether you hire, train, or help people find jobs—you’re part of UpSkill Houston.”

Carolyn Watson
Vice President, Relationship Manager, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase

Continued National Recognition for UpSkill Houston

Since its founding, UpSkill Houston has laid a strong foundation, steadily built the necessary infrastructure, and begun to experience results in closing the skills gap in Houston's regional economy. 

UpSkill Houston continues to help employers develop the critical mindset of providing leadership and assuming responsibility for improving our talent pipeline; and it has been recognized for this distinguishing characteristic.

Upskill Houston continues to receive national recognition for its work, including from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Pipeline Management Initiative and the U.S. Department of Commerce and Aspen Institute's Communities That Work Partnership.

It has also been recognized by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of The Brookings Institution and JP Morgan Chase & Co., and United Way Worldwide, and received positive media coverage by Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, the Houston Business Journal and The Texas Tribune.

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