June 2021
Ensuring Ready Talent is Key Amid Recovery
Recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may still be more than a year away, according to a June assessment of job growth published by the Gulf Coast Workforce Board and Gulf Coast Workforce Solutions, but lawmakers, educators and employers are helping ensure the Texas workforce will be equipped with the right knowledge and skills they’ll need and employers will be able to access this pool of qualified talent.

By investing in methods for strengthening educational and workforce outcomes, expanding access to work-based learning opportunities such as internships and apprenticeships, and expanding access to education and skills development programs, these leaders addressing current workforce needs while making critical investments into the future.

The May Employment Situation report highlights 19,700 job gains month-over-month in the Houston MSA (not-seasonally adjusted), indicating higher growth than the long-term average. Growth drivers included leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and professional and business services. When seasonally adjusted, the month-over-month increase was 8,800 jobs. The analysis shows year-over-year gains in nine of 11 sectors, primarily leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and trade, transportation and utilities. Loses were noted in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

As Houston recovers from the pandemic, the Partnership and UpSkill Houston continue to work with employers, community partners, public partners and education systems to support Houstonians as they rebuild their careers, help employers strengthen their workforce, and get the regional economy back on track.

Abbott, Legislature Commit to Texas Workforce
Gov. Greg Abbott and 87th Legislature have set up Texas and Texans for better workforce development outcomes and economic success through measures to align and support workforce and education goals.

The Texas Education and Workforce Alignment Act formalized existing collaboration by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to align workforce goals rooted in employer insights, and make outcomes data accessible. Read more from the Partnership's Houston Report blog.
The new Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) grant program will help eligible higher education institutions build capacity by expanding, accelerating, and redesigning workforce programs vital to attaining the state’s higher education goals and growing its economy. This program was proposed by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC). Learn more from TACC here.

The Partnership and UpSkill Houston supported both measures as they moved through the legislature.
Texas Community Colleges, AWS Expand Cloud Computing Courses
TACC and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have teamed up to make cloud computing education courses more accessible to high schools and institutions of higher education across Texas. The effort, is part of the state's new TRUE initiative and aims to train, reskill and certify 50,000 Texans to qualify for cloud computing jobs over the next three years.

Learn more about the plan here.
TXWORKS Seeks Internship Opportunities for 2022
Employer submission period runs through July 30, 2021
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has opened the submission period for employers with internship opportunities for Texas college and university students over the spring, summer and fall 2022 semesters. Applications to participate in the Texas Working Off-Campus: Reinforcing Knowledge and Skills (WORKS) Internship Program (TXWORKS) are due July 30, 2021. Meaningful internships, such as those sought for the TXWORKS program, can provide students with valuable experience and opportunities to build job and professional skills while completing real work that helps employers achieve their business goals.

The student eligibility submission period will run from July 12 to July 30, 2021.

Learn more and get started here.
National Initiative to Address Workforce Shortages
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have launched America Works — a so-called "Operation Warp Speed for Jobs" — to mobilize industry and government to swiftly address the country's deepening worker shortage crisis through policy changes that will help train more Americans for in-demand jobs and remove barriers to work.

Learn more about America Works from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here.
UpSkill in the Community
Apprenticeships: Underutilized Development Tools in an Uncertain World
Apprenticeships are valuable tools employers can use to develop talent with specific skills with a good return on their investment. Though traditionally associated with construction trades, the apprenticeship model lends itself well to jobs ranging from tax preparers to insurance underwriters to photovoltaic installers — and yet, they are underutilized.

During an UpSkill Works Forum held in June, guests Joseph B. Fuller, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School, and Mary Beth Gracy, office managing director for Accenture, discussed the untapped potential for apprenticeships for building a skilled entry-level workforce, exploring misconceptions around the apprenticeship model as well as new areas where apprenticeships could help employers meet key workforce needs.
Apprenticeships are a tried-and-true model with untapped potential within Houston's regional economy. Click above to watch a recording.

Gracy and Dawn Spreeman-Heine, a managing director of commercial risk solutions at Aon's Houston office, announced the formation of the Greater Houston Apprentice Network (GHAN), launching in August.
Read more from the Partnership's Partnership's Houston Report blog. Watch a recording of the Forum on YouTube.
2021 HS Grads Get College Tuition Advantage
This year's high school graduates in the Brazosport College service area have an opportunity to attend the college tuition- and fee-free for one year through the college's new BC Advantage 21 program.

Dream It. Do It. Watch It.: Economic Alliance Recognized for Ongoing Outreach During COVID
The Texas Economic Development Council (TEDC) has recognized the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region and Patti Bell, its Dream It. Do It. Southeast Texas program manager, for creating a replicable model for continuing workforce development outreach throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before COVID, Bell introduced students and career seekers to opportunities within the petrochemical manufacturing industry and the career matching tool PetrochemWorks.com at schools, conferences and career events. At the onset of COVID, she began recording sessions of various lengths and for different age groups and audiences, and created accompanying lesson plans other easily accessible and useable materials to support teachers conducting classes virtually or other industry outreach volunteers. The recordings have been used by schools and shown at CTE conferences, and reach an audience on YouTube.
The Economic Alliance's Patti Bell created a library of educational manufacturing career awareness videos and resources during the COVID pandemic. Click above to learn about careers through the website PetrochemWorks.com.

The Economic Alliance was one of 12 organizations across the state nominated for a TEDC 2021 Workforce Excellent Award.
See a list of recording and resources available at DreamItDoItTX.org. Learn about the program or become a program champion here.
Learning Opportunities & Workforce Events
  • Multiple Dates: Job Fairs and Hiring Events; Workforce Solutions maintains this calendar of upcoming job fairs, skill-building sessions and hiring events for adults, young adults and parents
  • Multiple Dates: YourLife Finance Classes; The Women's Resources hosts a variety of classes and coaching to help individuals improve their financial position
  • Multiple Dates: Workforce Solutions Young Adult Events; Workforce Solutions will host several young adult hiring events throughout the summer and fall
  • June 30: Lee College F2F Services; Lee College offers Face-to-Face Services events where students can register and enroll in classes and more throughout the summer
  • July 6 & 13: HISD Career Ready Wagon; Young students can begin exploring careers through HISD's series of virtual visits from professionals from various fields
  • July 8: Exploring Industry Career Fair: Industrial Technology; Teenagers are invited to experience San Jacinto College's LyondellBasell Center for Petrochemical, Energy & Technology and learn about careers in electrical, inspection and welding programs
  • July 14 & 15: Exploring Automotive; Individuals 14 to 19 years old can explore opportunities in automotive technology at San Jacinto College
  • Aug. 10-12: Microsoft DigiGirlz Camp; Microsoft's free virtual camp features three days of coding and technology workshops, speaker events, and more to introduce students to tech industry careers
  • Aug. 28: 2021 Soiree - Truly Global; This year's Partnership gala will celebrate Houston as a truly global city
Resources & Readings
Led by and for employers, UpSkill Houston builds the pipeline of skilled workers to grow the regional economy and provide opportunity for all Houstonians.
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