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Workforce Development

With a labor force more than 3 million workers strong, the Houston area offers a wide variety of talent at all skill levels. But 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. 

1.5 million

Number of Houstonians 25 years or older with a bachelor degree

#4

Houston ranks #4 in the U.S. in Fortune 1000 headquarters

20

Houston is home to 20 Forbes Global 2000 headquarters

Higher Education

The Houston region is home to more than 20 universities and colleges, including three Tier 1 universities. Houston-area colleges and universities educate nearly 230,000 students annually and graduated more than 56,000 students. In addition, another estimated 200,000 students are enrolled annually in local community and technical colleges. 

Local Universities

Institution

Texas A&M University-College Station

Undergraduate enrollment: 50,707

University of Houston

Undergraduate enrollment: 36,092

Sam Houston State University

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,416

Lamar University

Undergraduate enrollment: 9,129

University of Houston-Downtown

Undergraduate enrollment: 12,079

Texas Southern University

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,967

Prairie View A&M University

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,974

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,798

Rice University

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,970

UT Health Science Center-Houston

Graduate enrollment: 4,533

University of Houston-Victoria, Katy Campus

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,317

Houston Baptist University

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,316

UT Medical Branch-Galveston

Graduate enrollment: 2,569

University of St. Thomas

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,864

Texas A&M Health Science Center

Graduate enrollment: 2,295

University of Phoenix-Texas

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,256

Texas A&M University at Galveston

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,848

Baylor College of Medicine

Graduate enrollment: 1,577

Art Institute of Houston

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,364

South Texas College of Law Houston

Graduate enrollment: 980

UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,577

Community Colleges

Institution

Lone Star College System

Undergraduate enrollment: 69,452

Houston Community College

Undergraduate enrollment: 49,782

San Jacinto Community College District

Undergraduate enrollment: 35,455

Blinn College District

Undergraduate enrollment: 18,465

Lee College

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,717

Wharton County Junior College

Undergraduate enrollment: 7,050

Alvin Community College

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,709

College of the Mainland Community College District

Undergraduate enrollment: 4,328

Brazosport College

Undergraduate enrollment: 4,229

Lamar Institute of Technology

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,983

Galveston College

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,197

Texas State Technical College-Fort Bend

Undergraduate enrollment: 412

Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions

The Gulf Coast Workforce Board and its operating affiliate Workforce Solutions are the public workforce system in the 13-county Houston-Galveston region of Texas. Workforce Solutions helps employers meet their human resource needs and individuals build careers, so both can compete in the global economy. In 2017, the organization served more than 426,000 individuals across the region.

Closing the Skills Gap with UpSkill

The Greater Houston Partnership developed UpSkill Houston, a comprehensive, industry-led approach to bridge the gap and fill jobs in “middle-skills” occupations, advanced technical and craft careers that require education and skills development beyond high school but less than a four-year college degree. UpSkill Houston is an innovative blueprint for leaders from the business community, educational institutions and social service organizations to utilize as we lead this effort to build a quality workforce.

Skill Development Fund

The Skills Development Fund is Texas' premier job-training program providing local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. The Texas Workforce Commission administers funding for the program. Success is achieved through collaboration among businesses, public community and technical colleges, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners.

Related News

Economic Development

Five Digital Literacy Skills and How Businesses Can Assess Them

5/11/21
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to adopt technological alternatives to in-person meetings, gatherings, and operations in a matter of weeks, rapidly widening the breadth of tasks that required some degree of digital know-how. Even before the pandemic, the pace at which companies and industries were adopting automation technologies and integrating the use of digital productivity tools and platforms into daily tasks was accelerating. It is clear that workers – regardless of their industry, occupation or education level – will need to have a strong degree of digital literacy and/or master an array of digital skills in order to hold, or remain in, jobs in the workforce. The 2020 UpSkill Houston report “Navigating the Changing Nature of Work” explores how increased digitalization and automation will also heighten the risk of disrupting or shifting job tasks and skill requirements for greater Houston’s so-called “middle-skill” workforce. The report demonstrates that more than half of the region’s middle-skill jobs face above average automation risk, including occupations such as production, construction, repair, and transportation. The report details which middle-skill occupations require high levels of digital skills and which do not. (Sales and office support, technicians and drafters, and IT and computer-related occupations fall on the high side; construction, production, and transportation do not.) Many workers, it says, will need to upskill to acquire the digital and essential skills employers will require to participate in the evolving digital economy. How can a company or organization make sure its workers have the right skills and how can educational institutions and workforce training providers ensure that they are equipping students with the skills they will need to be successful? The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Business Network initiative has developed a framework to help employers address five identified baseline employability digital literacy skills without which a jobseeker will “increasingly likely to be ineligible for most modern employment.”  These skills are: Problem solving using technology; like identifying the correct data for resolving problems; Interaction with computers and mobile devices; like typing or knowing how to search for a file; Data entry and basic tools; like using Microsoft’s Word program or typing an email; Data security and safety; like being able to identify various threats to your computer and your data stored on it; and Data ethics; like having the ability to explain intellectual property and copyright. Markle adds to these two additional employability skills around occupation-specific tools (like using Adobe Photoshop for one job or 3-D modeling programs for another) and analytics and data manipulation (like how to yield data visualizations). It also notes three more basic, pre-requisite skills of cultural literacy (like global awareness), mindsets (like having a growth mindset or an improvement mindset), and foundational skills (like literacy, numeracy, and communication). Markle’s framework helps employers categorize the skills workers need, which will help them communicate those needs to educators and training partners. First, companies and organizations must define what digital literacy means to the organization. Then, they must be able to assess the skills employees have or that future job candidates may have. Next, they should identify roles that are digitizing most quickly or where the biggest gaps in digital skills exist and create an upskilling pilot program. Organizations should work with leaders and managers in the pilot to identify occupation-specific skills that might not be captured in the definition of baseline digital literacy that was established. Next, organizations should select a partner – an upskilling provider, such as a community college or community-based organization, or consulting firm or other support organization– to implement the upskilling program. Finally, organizations should determine key metrics to track, assess and evaluate them before and after training. By investing the time to define the baseline digital skills needed for occupations within their organizations and by working with partners to upskill their workforce, greater Houston’s employers can help ensure that the regional economy remains globally competitive well into the 21st century and that residents have the ability to develop relevant skills that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. The UpSkill Houston initiative helps employers and their talent acquisition teams address skills gaps by building talent pipelines for occupations that require less than a four-year college degree and by partnering with organizations working with displaced workers to upskill themselves into new roles. Learn more.  
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Economic Development

NRG Moving Headquarters to Houston, Adding Fortune 500 Energy Company to Region

5/6/21
NRG Energy, Inc. announced today that the company is consolidating its headquarters in Houston from its current base in Princeton, N.J. The company cited the diversity of Houston’s professional talent along with the City of Houston’s commitment to its Climate Action Plan, among the key factors driving the decision.  Texas is already home to the company’s largest employee and customer bases. With the acquisition of Direct Energy, which closed in January, NRG decided this was the right time to move its headquarters to Houston. The company currently has more than 3,000 employees in the greater Houston region and nearly 4,600 nationwide. "Houston has been a second headquarters for NRG for many years, supporting many of our customers and employees. Today, we are officially designating Houston as NRG’s sole Corporate Headquarters, a step that simplifies our operations," said Mauricio Gutierrez, president and CEO of NRG. "This move has been a part of our strategic plan for some time, and Houston's commitment to climate goals and the electrification of transportation align with our own goals and strategy. Texas is a great place for business, growing at a rapid pace and attracting diverse talent and industries." The addition of NRG expands Houston’s Fortune 500 headquarters roster to 24 companies, one of the largest in the country. NRG ranked number 324 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list. It’s the second Fortune 500 relocation for Houston in recent months following Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s decision in December to move its base here from California.  "I welcome today’s announcement by NRG designating Houston as the company’s sole corporate headquarters," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Over the past several years, my team and I have had substantive conversations with President and CEO Mauricio Gutierrez. I believe the decision is confirmation that Houston is a smart city for business. Just over one year ago, the City committed to purchasing 100% renewable energy through a renewed partnership with NRG Energy as the City’s retail electric provider. The plan is helping us build a more sustainable future, save over $9 million on our electric bill, and reduce emissions. The corporate decision provides stability for the company’s 3,000 employees currently living in Houston. It means that NRG has committed to being a Texas-based company that will continue to expand. I look forward to strengthening our partnership and continuing to have meaningful discussions about our shared goals and vision for Houston’s future."  NRG and its subsidiaries generate, sell and deliver power to more than 3.7 million residential and business customers across 10 states.  The Greater Houston Partnership and leaders from the Houston region conducted a series of visits with the NRG leadership team in recent years, including a key meeting in fall 2019 where a Partnership delegation including Mayor Turner, Bobby Tudor, Jim Fish, and David Leebron, met with NRG’s President and CEO, Mauricio Gutierrez during a business recruiting mission to New York City. “This is another great win for Houston. NRG is a company that will help us continue to build a vibrant 21st century economy, one that is focused on innovation and technology,” said Partnership Chair Amy Chronis. “Houston has a globally diverse talent base and offers companies like NRG one of the most business-friendly locales in the nation. We are excited NRG’s leadership recognized this and look forward to welcoming the headquarters team to Houston.” “We’ve always thought of NRG as a hometown company, and now it is official,” said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey. “NRG’s headquarters relocation is another milestone moment for Houston and further solidifies our position as a corporate headquarters capital. Houston is committed to leading the global energy transition, and companies like NRG are key to this effort. We are delighted they will lead their business from Houston.” Learn more about NRG Energy and why companies are choosing to expand and relocate to Houston. 
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Related Events

Economic Development

International Business Month - Business Beyond Borders "Go Beyond"

The Greater Houston Partnership will host a conversation on business and tourism opportunities between Houston and Mexico, including Houston First Corporation's "Hola Houston" campaign. Speakers include: …

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Living in Houston

Houston offers a low cost of living while maintaining an incredibly rich quality of life with the amenities you expect to find in a world-class city.

Talent

Houston offers a highly educated and ever-growing workforce skilled in both traditional and emerging industries.

Research

The Partnership's Research team are experts on the region's economy and key demographic trends.

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