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Talent & Workforce

The Houston metro area is the most racially and ethnically diverse region in the United States and the fifth most populous metro with over 7.3 million people. A strong economy with expanding businesses, numerous universities and technical schools, and a relatively low cost of living that draws new residents combine to make this one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The metro area had the second largest numeric increase (124,281) in population of any U.S. metro from July 2021 to July 2022, reflecting a 1.7 percent increase. Consistently ranking among the nation's leaders when it comes to job growth, Houston set a record for employment growth in 2021, adding over 172,000 jobs. The Houston metro area added another 145,700 jobs the following year.

With a labor force of more than 3 million workers, the Houston area offers the large variety of talent at all skill levels necessary for a wide range of industries from professional services to health care and advanced manufacturing to aerospace. The region is also a growing hub for young talent, ranking among the top 10 in the U.S. for attracting millennials and retaining college graduates.

34.2%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher

300,000+

Educated millennials

243,000+

Net tech workforce

There is also a regional focus on developing tomorrow's workforce through educating young people on emerging industries and re-training mid-career professionals for high-demand careers. Houston has developed a strong bridge between the talent needs of various industries and the educational programs being offered through colleges, universities and technical programs.

Explore Houston's diversity

Higher Education

The Houston region is home to more than 40 two-year community colleges and four-year universities, including three Tier 1 universities: Rice University, University of Houston, and Texas A&M University. Houston-area colleges and universities educate almost 425,000 students and graduate nearly 100,000 students annually. In addition, another estimated 20,000 students are enrolled annually in local trade, vocational, and business schools specializing in law, health care, welding, process technology, and other disciplines.

40+

Two-year community colleges and four-year universities

50

Trade, vocational, and business schools

425,000

Students enrolled in colleges and universities in fall '22

Two-Year Community Colleges
Four-Year or Above

Regional Workforce Development Initiatives

UpSkill Houston

The Greater Houston Partnership developed UpSkill Houston, a comprehensive, industry-led approach to bridge the gap and fill jobs in 'middle-skills' occupations.

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Houston Back on Track

Houston Back On Track is an employer-led job recovery initiative with a mission to help get Houstonians back on their feet by working with Houston employers with current openings for quality, future-focused jobs.

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Related News

Professional Development

Fueling the Future: How Houston's Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs are Shaping Tomorrow's Business Landscape

6/11/24
The greater Houston region is fueled by a thriving workforce comprised of skilled professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. Ranking among the top 10 in the U.S. for attracting millennials and retaining college graduates, the region is a burgeoning hub for young talent.   Because of this, companies and organizations have prioritized a regional focus on developing tomorrow’s workforce by educating young people on emerging industries and re-training mid-career professionals for high-demand careers through college, university and technical programs. The result is a strong base of budding young leaders primed to shape the future of our region.   The Greater Houston Partnership’s Houston Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) leadership development program is dedicated to supporting emerging leaders with the skills and insights that will enhance their potential.    We spoke to several HYPE members to gain some insight on the challenges young professionals face and the future of business in our community.    In your opinion, what are the most pressing leadership challenges facing young professionals in Houston today?  Elijah Defferari, Lummus Tech: It is important to hone a leadership style that is authentically you. There is often a disconnect between what is written or portrayed in popular media (TikTok, LinkedIn, new outlets or social medias) and what is the reality of your situation. It helps to unplug from social media, at least in intervals, to really assess yourself as a person/leader in order to discover how you tend to lead without the bias and influence of social media "gurus" or coaches that do not know your individual leadership journey. In other words, it is a challenge to all young professionals, beyond just Houston, to scour through the inundation of data we see online and craft our own leadership identities.  Sam Linton, Accenture: In Houston, young professionals are stepping into leadership roles during a time of dramatic industry shifts. As the city pivots from its traditional oil roots to embrace technology and renewable energy, emerging leaders face unique challenges. They must master new skills swiftly, navigate cultural complexities within one of the most diverse workforces in the nation, and drive innovation. Furthermore, integrating sustainable practices poses another significant hurdle, especially in sectors historically reliant on natural resources. Despite these challenges, the opportunities for growth and impact are immense. For those ready to lead, Houston offers a dynamic arena to influence the future of business and drive change.  "Effective leadership now requires a mix of adaptability, cultural sensitivity, and a forward-thinking approach," says Linton. Can you share a memorable experience where mentorship directly contributed to a success story of yours?  Francesca Sosa, Inventure: I never really had an official mentor until a few years ago and it was career changing. 3 years into my professional journey I was simply focused on what was next so I could get promoted. My thoughts were always “you have to be good at everything and do whatever it takes to showcase it”. This only hindered me because I would bite more than I could chew and it would result in poor work product or extreme levels of stress. I was also trying to be someone I was not. At some point someone that was working on one of our large projects left the company and I requested to take over her role. This made me the teammate of someone I had not worked with before and it was the best decision I ever made. She took me under her wing and helped me grow professionally and personally. She became the person I could talk to no matter what. She became that official mentor I needed to find my way. I was promoted thanks to her guidance. I also found myself much happier with my work life balance.  How do you see the Houston business community evolving in the next decade, and what opportunities do you foresee for young professionals and entrepreneurs?   Shaw Adcock, Greater Houston Partnership: The Houston business ecosystem is evolving in a lot of exciting ways, and innovation is at the heart of our future success. Young professionals and entrepreneurs have the chance to make lasting impact in some of the most important industries and movements here in Houston. The innovative ideas that spring here will provide copious opportunities to partake in, and change the world in the process. "Core industries like aerospace, energy and life sciences are all at the precipice of major breakthroughs and positive changes," says Adcock.   Whether you're a young professional looking to expand your network or a budding entrepreneur seeking mentorship and support, HYPE offers developmental experiences to succeed in Houston’s workforce. Join HYPE to gain access to a diverse network of like-minded professionals, exclusive events, and invaluable resources designed to inspire the next generation of Houston business leaders.   Learn more about HYPE. 
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Construction

Companies Investing in Houston's Energy Workforce

6/6/24
As Houston continues to lead the energy transition, major corporations are making significant investments to ensure the region's workforce is equipped with the skills of tomorrow. Key industry players ExxonMobil and Bechtel have recently announced initiatives, demonstrating their commitment to preparing and empowering the next generation of energy professionals. ExxonMobil's Commitment to STEM Education The ExxonMobil Foundation recently donated $17 million to Khan Academy for the Open Doors Project. The initiative will allow Khan Academy to offer free Texas standards-aligned math and science courses for 3rd – 12th graders and teacher guides to facilitate the new courses.  The collaboration with Khan Academy will enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning opportunities, ensuring students have the foundational knowledge and skills required to pursue careers in the energy industry and beyond.  Bechtel's Construction Career Pathways Bechtel, a global leader in engineering, construction, and project management, is also making significant strides in workforce development. The company recently announced it offered construction careers to 15 graduating seniors from the pipefitter and welding Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Nederland High School and Port Arthur Memorial High School. The students received hands-on experience and training through the program, allowing them to successfully move into careers at the Port Arthur Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Phase 1 project site.  “We are excited to offer jobs to these students who have gained the experience needed to complete their curriculum and start their path to becoming skilled craft professionals,” said Kane McIntosh, Port Arthur LNG Project Manager at Bechtel. “Sempra Infrastructure and Bechtel are committed to supporting Port Arthur and Southeast Texas, which includes training the next generation of workers who will deliver large-scale projects like Port Arthur LNG Phase 1.” Shaping the Future of Energy The investments by ExxonMobil and Bechtel are crucial for ensuring Houston remains at the forefront of the global energy industry. By focusing on education and career development, these companies are fostering innovation and sustainable growth in the energy sector while addressing the current and future workforce needs. Learn more about the region's energy industry and workforce development programs.  
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Related Events

Education and Workforce Event

UpSkill Houston Summit: 10 Years of Empowering Careers

We’re thrilled to mark the milestone of the 10th anniversary of the Partnership’s workforce development initiative with a memorable 2024 UpSkill Houston Summit.  Join us for a dynamic event as we celebrate a…

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Get in touch with our team to assist with additional Talent questions, such as:

  • Workforce economy statistics 
  • Economic and employment data 
  • Assistance with skills development training
Peter Beard
Senior Vice President
Regional Workforce Development
E
pbeard@houston.org
P
713-844-3602
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Executive Partners