Welcome to UpSkill Houston’s new Coach Connect, a bi-monthly email from the Greater Houston Partnership's UpSkill Houston initiative providing information and tools to support the work of educators and career counselors and coaches to help students and adults navigate the good careers that increase their economic opportunity and prosperity. 

We hope you share the information and resources with students, parents, workers and career-seekers to help inform their decisions around careers, education and career pathways.
Spotlight on Skills
Essential skills, like communication and adaptability, can be as fundamentally, if not more, important to the success of an individual or team as can digital or technical/occupational skills. The ability to learn can mean the difference between growing a career or stagnating in a job. Our guide to workforce skills identifies the types of skills needed to build a career: Download it here.

Providing pathways for workers to enter, navigate and advance into the higher skill segments of the workforce will be critical to the region's economic competitiveness and the economic mobility and prosperity of its residents. See a full examination high-demand and priority middle skill occupations and the importance of these occupations and careers in the 2020 report Middle Skills Matter to Greater Houston.
The spectrum of skills and education needed by employers
Industry Insights
Transportation: Technology and Elbow Grease Keep Houston Moving
Roughly 258,000 individuals in the Houston Metro Area are employed in transportation and material moving occupations. This accounts for roughly 8.5 percent of people employed in the region, making it the area's fourth largest occupational segment.

Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers are among the Texas Workforce Commission's top 10 targeted occupations - so are automotive service technicians and mechanics, along with bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists.

The average annual wage for a local general freight truck driver is $54,392.
Click to watch "My Life As a City Driver" featuring FedEx Freight's Mary Kelldorf.

See all "My Life As..." series transportation videos and resources here.
Strong communication skills help drivers build and maintain key relationships with customers. Mechanics and technicians need digital know-how and problem-solving skills to diagnose a vehicle's problems and make repairs.
Employer Corner: Group 1 Automotive & Sterling McCall Group
Group 1 Automotive is a Houston-based Fortune 300 company that operates car dealerships internationally. Sterling McCall is its wholly owned subsidiary here in Texas. Group 1 Automotive and Sterling McCall offer myriad career opportunities in parts, collision shops, sales, finance and other areas.

According to Mike Jones, Group 1 Automotive senior vice president of aftersales, the pandemic has increased demand for occupations across the business from body shops to sales to financing; many Americans purchased a car to lessen their dependence on public transportation.

Technology used within vehicles changes rapidly and auto manufacturers will migrate from designs that rely on internal combustion engines and toward electric or hydrogen-powered engines. According to Jones, employees of the future will need to learn these new technologies and systems as these changes continue.

Career Opportunities & Information: www.group1careers.com
The recording above presents a careers and skills panel discussion with Group 1 Automotive and Sterling McCall Group including a technical demonstration, conducted with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, which students and career-seekers may find helpful.

During the discussion, Mike Jones, Group 1 Automotive senior vice president of aftersales, Eliseo Rosa, master Toyota technician, and Melissa Frieden, manager of aftersales, detail their day-to-day roles and describe how having a growth mindset, communication skills, and strong digital skills help accelerate careers within the companies. They also discuss internship, job shadowing, apprenticeship, mentorship and manager training opportunities and programs for employees.
Coaching Tool Box
Middle Galaxy: A Game to Engage Students in Career Talks
Middle Galaxy is more than a fun game with a space theme.

The game asks players go on missions and build teams with different occupations and skills that match the needs to complete each mission. It also teaches students about different occupations in demand here in Texas along with the knowledge and skills they'll need. Players can identify ideal cadets and give cadets knowledge boosts through additional training or skills development activities.

Middle Galaxy was developed by Texas OnCourse, a state-funded initiative that equips Texas students for an educational and professional future that unlocks their potential, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). "It's a fun way for students to learn more about different career pathways available to them," says Texas OnCourse Director Laura Brennan. "Not only are they learning about the occupations that exist, but also the knowledge, skills and abilities that are needed for those occupations."

The game has helped students prepare for career conversations with teachers, counselors and parents.

Texas OnCourse offers an array of guides and tools that empower students, families and educators to make decisions that will help lead to student success after high school. Its Texas OnCourse Academy has free online professional development learning modules on topics from endorsements to college applications and entrance exams to financial aid.

Brennan discussed Middle Galaxy and other tools during an appearance in an UpSkill Works Forum held in December called "Gateways to Career Exploration and Pathways." She appeared along with guest Victoria Chen, co-founder and executive director of BridgeYear. Watch a recording of the forum on YouTube here, or read a recap here.

Visit Texas OnCourse online at www.TexasOnCourse.com.
News & Events to Know
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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