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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


Houston ranks #3 in the U.S. in Fortune 1000 headquarters

16.9 percent

Part of Houston's digital tech firms that specialize in health care

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


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


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


TWC:  Expanded Funding Provides Skilling Opportunities for Workers and Unemployed

With the number of Texans filing for unemployment insurance skyrocketing in March and April, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) was charged with exploring ways to use available funds to help individuals and businesses effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, TWC announced $10 million would be available through the Skills Development Fund to support training for existing workers and new hires of businesses impacted by COVID-19. This COVID-19 special initiative focuses on supporting local skills training for these employers in partnership with community colleges or local workforce board (and third-party training providers).  Following the roll out of the Skills Development Fund Special Training Initiative, TWC established a new statewide, online skills enhancement project for individuals receiving unemployment benefits, in June. Courtney Arbour, director of TWC’s Workforce Development Division, and Dale A Robertson, interim director of TWC’s Office of Employer Initiatives joined an UpSkill Works Forum to discuss the new initiatives and opportunities for employers and individuals on July 9. The Forum was hosted by Peter Beard, Greater Houston Partnership senior vice president of Regional Workforce Development. A recording of their conversation is available on YouTube.  “Given all the changes in the economy, the more information we can get out to people and the more we can encourage them to seize this opportunity to increase their skills to help them to enter their next job, the better,” Arbour said.  Workforce Training Funds Made Easier  TWC made $10 million available through its existing Skills Development Fund program to support training programs for employers impacted by COVID-19 which is intended to help current employees, new hires or furloughed employees gain new skills needed by the employer. “The impetus was COVID-19, to move really fast, to make funding available to a local communities across the state, and to address the needs of businesses and workers to help our economy rebound as quickly as possible during and post-COVID-19,” Robertson said. The program offers an easy application process for workforce boards and community colleges and a simple process for businesses to partner with those entities to identify workers who need training. Roughly 50 workforce boards and community colleges across the state have already become fund grantees. Locally, grantee partners include Houston Community College, Galveston Community College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, Texas State Technical College – Ft. Bend, and Wharton Junior College. The special initiative eliminates the Skills Development Fund’s usual six-month waiting period between applications, Robertson said. The special initiative also provides up to $250,000 to colleges and workforce boards to support the training needs of employers in their area.  Under this initiative businesses can also provide most, if not all, of the training needed by their employees. The college or board grantee will facilitate the provision of training to ensure that it’s approvable. Businesses effected by COVID-19 and those with in-demand jobs may participate in the Skills COVID-19 Special Training Initiative. Online Skills Enhancement Open to All Texas Claimants Expanding the rapid skills enhancement opportunities to include eligible workers as well as individuals receiving unemployment benefits was done in order to bring training to the largest number of people as quickly as possible, Arbour said. This online training will be open to every claimant in Texas, she said.  The skills enhancement project will provide access to thousands of online courses through the popular Coursera and Metrix Learning platforms. Individuals receiving unemployment benefits will have access to these courses via email in the next week, Arbour said. Individuals must register on to receive access. Individuals will not need to have made a new claim within the last 30 days to receive access. Individuals may continue using the platforms even after they return to work. Arbour said local workforce offices will keep in touch with claimants to help guide them through the courses. Urgent Need for Upskilling Robertson and Arbour briefly highlighted recent labor market data, reporting an increase in job postings for positions in health care, logistics and retail, but also for ones in software development and other computer-related occupations with the caveat that the postings may represent jobs needed now or in the more distant future. They also noted an increasing demand for individuals to enhance their digital skills – a demand made more urgent by the transition to remote work amid the pandemic. The pace of change will only grow faster, Arbour said, adding that individuals need to be willing to keep learning and growing. Now is a good time for individuals to upskill, she said. “Some people are in lifeboat jobs. This is an opportunity to get out of the lifeboat into a bigger boat,” Arbour said. “It's a good time, when people are in between jobs, to take – especially – no cost resources and get in there and learn what they can to make them a strong candidate for the next job.”  The UpSkill Works Forum Series presents interviews with business and community leaders, policy makers, and leading thinkers on the key workforce issues our region confronts. View recordings of the complete series on YouTube.  Additional Resources: Learn more about TWC Skills Development Fund COVID-19 Special Training Initiative and email for more information.    Contact for additional information regarding the Rapid Skills Enhancement Initiative.    Learn more about Texas Career Check Interest Profiler and Occupation Trends.    Learn about the Texas Genuine Assessment    Learn about the Texas Skills to Work initiative for veterans.    Visit Texas Labor Market Information for detailed reports.  
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Economic Development

Texas One of Best States for Businesses to Survive COVID-19 Economic Turmoil

Texas is one of the best states for businesses to weather economic challenges brought on by COVID-19.  As reported by InnovationMap, a new study from Fit Small Business ranked Texas #3 when it came to business owners weathering the economic fallout from the pandemic. Ohio and South Dakota ranked #1 and # 2 respectively. New York was last.   Click to expand The study analyzed several metrics, including infection rates, consumer confidence and overall financial health. Texas ranked #1 in the Emergency Reserves & Relief category, which considered the overall reserve of funds the state has to help provide financial relief to those affected by the pandemic. The study noted the state's adequate economic reserves and unemployment compensation. Authors also cited an article by Richard Fisher, former president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who called Texas "the case study for economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession."  The study also pointed to the state's diversified economy, noting it as a key aspect of a state's ability to recover, and said while Texas has felt some affects of the economic downturn, it has enough resources to weather the storm.  See the full study and results from Fit Small Business. Learn how Texas compared to other states in each of the categories here. Learn more about Houston's diversified economy. Read more about Texas's business-friendly environment in the Houston Regional Market Profile.  Register for the next Greater Houston Partnership Economy Series. Patrick Jankowski, the Partnership's Senior Vice President of Research, will share a broad overview of major economic impacts from the first half of 2020 and the outlook for the rest of year.
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Join us for the second State of Education event to learn how we can strengthen our region’s education system to provide our children and young adults a future where they can prosper and succeed. A strong…

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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.


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


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