September 2020
U.S. Chamber Launches Bold New Initiative for Talent Finance
Job opportunities and the skills needed to be successful have been changing and evolving at an accelerating pace. But the way finance and investment in talent is approached has not adapted to support the corresponding need for reskilling – nor has it changed to help employers, workers and government manage related employment and income risks.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) and partners including the Partnership, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, WorkingNation and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) have launched a groundbreaking initiative, called Talent Finance, to explore new ways to invest in people and skills that fit our time and an economy where competition is based on talent. The Talent Finance initiative will build a bold new public-private approach for financing talent to bolster global competitiveness and expand opportunity and improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the talent marketplace. It will do this through a series of virtual forums in September and October where employers can share strategies to better prepare today's workforce for the future. The series will be followed by a series of design workshops.

A framework for this approach, complete with recommendations for designing and executing real-world solutions, is detailed in a landmark white paper co-authored by Peter Beard, Greater Houston Partnership senior vice president of Regional Workforce Development and leader of the UpSkill Houston initiative. Beard will speak during Talent Finance forums held on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, 2020.

UpSkill in the Community
COVID-19 Drives Thinking Outside the Box to Design Career Exploration Inside a Box
BridgeYear's new Career Test Drive® Kits bridge COVID-driven gap in career exploration

When schools paused classroom learning and on-campus activities and businesses limited the number of individuals allowed in their offices and facilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, it disrupted various approaches used to introduce students and parents to good careers in Houston. Job and career fairs, internships and hands-on lab work were paused.

The nonprofit and UpSkill Houston partner BridgeYear, which produces experiential Career Test Drive® fairs in schools across the city, moved quickly to adapt. Over the summer, the organization developed and piloted a line of Career Test Drive Kits, delivering hands-on activities and engaging instructional videos highlighting health care and construction careers right to students' homes.

(Photo credit: BridgeYear)
UpSkill Houston Leaders on Forefront of Building Talent Pipeline Management Networks Across Texas
During a tumultuous year when the COVID-19 pandemic drove significant job loss and uncertainty in regional job markets across Texas, 30 workforce development professionals from across the state came together (virtually) to learn proven strategies that can help cities and regions recover and strengthen the skills of individuals. This cohort makes up the first cohort of the Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) Academy of Texas, and includes three UpSkill Houston leaders.

The six-month TPM Academy® teaches strategies to build sustainable talent pipelines to help Texans access greater economic opportunity and help employers tap into high-quality and skilled talent. The Academy was launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is supported by an alliance of state workforce and education leaders, including the Partnership, Educate Texas and the Federal Reserve Bank of Texas. In addition to supporting recovery efforts, TPM® strategies will benefit Texas as it works to achieve its 30x60TX goal.

UpSkill Houston executive committee members Dr. Allatia Harris, San Jacinto College's vice chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, Workforce Development, Community Relations and Diversity; and Andrew Van Chau, executive board member of the Gulf Coast Economic Development District and Katy-Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce; and Bryant Black, Partnership director of Regional Workforce Development, are among this inaugural cohort. Peter Beard, Partnership senior vice president of Regional Workforce Development and leader of the UpSkill Houston initiative, is among the TPM Academy faculty.

Learning Opportunities & Events
  • Sept. 24 & 29, Oct. 1 & 13: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Talent Finance Series; The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosts a series of discussions to explore a new public-private approach to talent finance that is built to address the challenges and requirements of the new economy
  • Sept. 25: State of the Houston Region; The Partnership will bring together a panel of county judges for a conversation around emergency preparedness and coordination
  • Sept. 28: Economy Series; Partnership Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowski provides a monthly economic update for the Houston region
  • Sept. 29: OneHouston Together Webinar Series: The Business Community's Role in Addressing Racial Inequities; From the Partnership comes a new series focused on racism and systemic inequities to foster a desire within participants to embark on their own personal learning journeys and apply that knowledge to their lives and work
  • Oct. 1: Return of the U.S. Supply Chain - Manufacturing Trends Post-COVID; A panel will explore national manufacturing and supply chain trends
  • Oct. 2: State of the Airports; The Partnership presents this look at where Houston's airport system is heading
  • Oct. 8: City of Houston Find Your Path virtual career fair; This expo connects high school students with employers and possible career opportunities
  • Oct. 13: State of the Port; Houston Port Chair Ric Campo will discuss during this Partnership virtual broadcast how global trade, the energy downtown and discussions around deepening and widening the Houston Ship Channel are impacting the port
  • Oct. 15: 2020 Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit Fireside Chat; Matt Mullenweg, founder and CEO of Automatic and co-founder or WordPress talks with Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B- Food & Drug, to kick off the 2020 Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit
  • Oct. 16 & 19: 2020 Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit; The Partnership brings together D&I and HR leaders and talent attraction professionals for a two-day event exploring how Houston must take a leadership role in addressing diversity, equality, inclusion and justice
  • Oct. 22: State of the City; City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will discuss during this virtual broadcast the city's ongoing efforts to battle the coronavirus, strengthen racial equity and improve Houston's position as a great global city
  • Nov. 19: The Greater Houston Partnership's Golf Classic; The Partnership's executive-level tournament is an excellent opportunity to nurture business relationships in a causal, fun atmosphere
Readings & Resources

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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