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Manufacturing Employment
230,000+

Houston has one of the largest manufacturing workforces in the country

Business Executives and Employers Lead the Way

The Houston region has experienced incredible growth over the last few years, and its economy has been 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 skills and people gaps have reached critical proportions among Houston’s 1.4 million “middle-skills” jobs – advanced technical and craft careers that require education and skills development beyond high school but less than 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 organization representatives and government officials 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.

Forging Partnerships to Bridge Workforce Gaps

Business, education, and community organization leaders highlight how participating in the UpSkill Houston initiative has helped foster collaborative action.

Collective Action and Common Language Help Align Cross-Sector Efforts

Though UpSkill Houston is employer-driven, educational institutions and community organizations play crucial roles in its collaborative efforts. Employer leadership and collective action are keys to the initiative’s success, as is common language.

UpSkill Houston encourages different groups addressing the same problem to establish a common goal, align their efforts, pursue separate tactics, and share results. UpSkill Houston 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.

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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. Unfortunately, that path, alone has left a critical gap in our workforce.

By highlighting well-paid, rewarding careers that require less than a four-year college degree, UpSkill Houston presents an alternative path to success. By working with industry leaders, educators, and representatives of community organizations, UpSkill is pushing toward a societal mind shift—success does not require a four-year college degree.

Thanks in part to state education standards, students in the region's independent school districts are beginning to explore careers before high school. Also aiding in the societal mind shift, educational institutions, businesses, and community organizations are coming together to present education that's meaningful to students and meaningful to the economy. UpSkill Houston supports both efforts.

UpSkill Houston provides resources to help introduce students and parents to careers that offer stability, and opportunity for growth, and only require education and skills beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree.

UpSkillHouston.org
This website presents comprehensive information on numerous good jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, the training and educational requirements for them, and their salary ranges. This information is presented in slightly different formats for career seekers, educators, and UpSkill Houston partners.

UpSkillMyLife.org
This site introduces prominent area employers to students, parents and educators through compelling stories focused on employees and their paths toward careers that don’t require a four-year degree. 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.

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

In order to continue improving our talent pipeline that can sustain our growing economy, it is essential that employers continue to lead the way on initiatives such as UpSkill Houston. Employers are in the best position to know how many workers they need, what skills and competencies are required for those workers to be successful, and the sources of proven talent. Educational institutions, community organizations, and government agencies then can tailor their programs and support for workers based on collaborative efforts with employers.

By uniting these powerful forces – industry, education, community, and government – UpSkill Houston helps create the talent pipeline 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
ExxonMobil

“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

“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 Acclaim 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 people gap and the skills gap in Houston's regional economy.  

Upskill Houston continues to receive national recognition for its work. Its efforts have been cited as exemplary by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Pipeline Management Initiative, the Communities that Work Partnership of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Aspen Institute, the Global Cities Initiative of the Brookings Institution, JP Morgan Chase, and United Way Worldwide. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also has recognized UpSkill Houston’s efforts.

The initiative has garnered positive media coverage by The Houston Chronicle, the Houston Business Journal, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report.

Recent News

Executive Committee
Sector Leadership
UpSkill Houston Team

Major Funding Partners

Additional Resources

A number of organizations are partnering with UpSkill and the Partnership on enhancing workforce development in the region. 

Building Momentum Report

A comprehensive look at the work and results of UpSkill Houston.

Employer Champion Proposal

By contributing to the Employer Champion Campaign, companies are setting Houston on a better path and improving the skilled workforce and economy for generations to come.

The tools on this website present comprehensive information on numerous good jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, 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.

This site introduces prominent area employers to students, parents and educators through compelling stories focused on employees and their paths toward careers that don’t require a four-year degree.

This video from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation shows how UpSkill is leading the way to close the skills gap using lessons learned in supply chain management.

UpSkill Houston's "My Life As" campaign provides stories of workers in high demand, growth opportunity careers.

UpSkill Works 2019 UpSkill Impact and Scale Panel Presentation

From the 2019 UpSkill Works conference, this is the morning session panel presentation focuses on UpSkill's impact and scale.

UpSkill Works 2019 Workforce and Labor Market Trends Panel Presentation

From the 2019 UpSkill Works conference, this is the afternoon session presentation focuses on Greater Houston's Regional Workforce and Labor Market Trends. 

UpSkill Works 2019 Breakout Session Presentations

From the 2019 UpSkill Works conference, these are the presentations from United Way THRIVE and BakerRipley's ASPIRE program.

Executive Partners