February 2021
Americans Agree: We Need to Help Each Other
Findings from a new survey from Gallup and the Carnegie Corporation of New York indicate strong agreement that Americans are at risk and we need to help each other, and we can "by providing millions of people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic with a combination of paid work and training opportunities over the next few years."

Support appears to go beyond the crisis at hand; Americans appear to favor finding creative solutions to long-term challenges, like helping workers become better prepared to meet current labor market needs. UpSkill Houston and its partners are currently working to help employers and their talent acquisition teams address skills gaps by building talent pipelines and to partner with community colleges and United Way of Greater Houston THRIVE community partners in working with individuals to upskill themselves into new roles.

The survey results provide insights into solutions that could help Americans emerge from the pandemic as a stronger society and have powerful implications for local and national recovery efforts and long-term workforce development plans.

Read more from the Houston Report blog.
Texas Community Colleges Step Up for State's Recovery
Community colleges provide more than 90 percent of career and technical certifications in Texas, making them ideal places for displaced workers and jobseekers to turn to gain new skills or credentials that lead to good paying jobs.

The Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) has proposed a new initiative – called Texas Reskilling & Upskilling through Education (TRUE) – to help individuals prepare for in-demand careers, accelerating their transition to work while also building an education structure to support the Texas economy throughout the state’s diverse regions.
TRUE Seeks to Accelerate Skills Training
and Upskilling Needed by Employers
Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College and chair of TACC's executive committee, shared with UpSkill Houston what employers and jobseekers need to know about the initiative and how it can help residents prepare for returning to work. Hellyer is also a member of UpSkill Houston's executive committee.

Read the Q&A with Hellyer on the Houston Report blog.
Texas Coalition Launches Statewide Workforce Strategy Effort
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC) have launched a new statewide effort to develop a shared workforce development strategy. The initiative will help local communities address workforce needs and support lasting economic success across the state, according to TWC Chair Bryan Daniel.

The initiative was born out of work by the state’s Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative and will identify existing strategies and partners and lay the foundation for future planning and establish a definition for workforce success.

This spring, it will hold a series of webinars that highlight local efforts and winning strategies that can be leveraged statewide.

Learn more from the TWC; sign up for initiative updates.
Broadband Connectivity a Legislative Priority
Broadband connectivity has quickly become a top policy priority for communities across Texas and for lawmakers in the 87th Legislative Session, according to Partnership Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Lindsay Munoz and Public Policy Director Ben Melson.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious connectivity problems communities and millions of Texans had faced for years: gaps were quickly identified when schools moved from in-person learning to online learning, but connectivity affects more than just education; it is an economic issue and a health issue. Roughly 3 million Texas households either lack broadband internet access or cannot afford it; these households are overwhelmingly economically disadvantaged and in rural areas.

State Rep. Trent Ashby and State Sen. Robert Nichols are working on legislation that would establish a broadband office that would create a plan to provide broadband access to all Texans, along with provisions for data collection and mapping. Other legislators involved with the effort include Houston-based State Rep. Armando Walle, and there appears to be broad support from lawmakers in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle, according to Munoz and Melson. Last year, the Partnership, Texas 2036 and Texas Rural Funders created the Digital Texas coalition to ensure all Texans have equitable access to reliable and affordable digital connectivity.

Follow news about the 87th Legislative Session from the Partnership’s Public Policy team.
Coach Connect: Skill & Industry Resources, News
UpSkill Houston has launched a newsletter of tailored information 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.

The email, called Coach Connect, features insights into the skills employers need their workforce to have and shares employment insights for specific industries. It also spotlights resources and tools that educators and coaches can share with students or clients and their families. Coach Connect is produced six times a year, each edition featuring a different industry. It is part of our work to drive effective career guidance.

The March/April newsletter will focus on health care.

UpSkill @ Work
HCC Launches One-Stop Portal to Free Fast-Track Training
Houston Community College has created an easy-to-use, one-stop portal where individuals can apply for fully funded short-term training programs for high-demand occupations. The site lists all funded programs, regardless of their funding source, meaning individuals can select programs and apply without having to visit multiple sites tied to different funds. Programs range from construction trades (pipefitting, plumbing and welding) to IT, networking and cybersecurity to commercial truck driving and logistics.

Workforce Training Center is Investment in Opportunity for All
UpSkill Houston initiative partner SERJobs has broken ground on a new workforce training center that will allow it to provide education, training and employment placement services to more than 8,000 people by 2022. Construction comes as the region faces continued high unemployment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. The facility will allow SER to expand training for disaster areas of construction trades and develop new training opportunities based on market demands in areas including IT, cybersecurity and communication technology. It is projected to open by late summer.
A rendering of SERJobs' new workforce training center
A new workforce training center will help SERJobs expand services
Image credit: SERJobs
SERJobs provides education, occupational skills training, financial literacy, and employment assistance to individuals from low-income backgrounds or who have barriers to employment —at no cost to participants. It is one of United Way of Greater Houston's more than 20 THRIVE partners that work collaboratively to provide families with comprehensive resources, wraparound support, and services they need to reach real and lasting financial independence.

Learning Opportunities & 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
  • February 26: Texas Winter Storm Recovery webinar; RAISE Texas hosts this webinar for financial coaches, social workers, case managers, community health workers, social service volunteers, and social service providers who will be helping Texans access financial resources for post-storm recovery
  • March 4: Wall Street Journal Jobs Summit; Students and recent graduates, mid-career changers and currently unemployed individuals can learn information and gain insights on the current job market during this free event from the Wall Street Journal
  • March 4 & 18: Workforce Solutions Youth Adult Hiring Event; Workforce Solutions seeks employers with immediate openings for qualified candidates to participate in these virtual events for individuals between the ages of 16 and 24
  • March 5: 2021 Rise to the Top; Join the Partnership's Women's Business Alliance (WBA) for an International Women's Day celebration featuring candid conversations with women executives around the challenges and triumphs of succeeding in today's business world
  • March 23-26: Washington D.C. Virtual Fly-In; The Partnership brings Congressional leaders, White House representatives and other stakeholders together with Houston's business community to discuss key policy issues
  • April 21: C3 Student Virtual Hiring Event; C3 seeks employers to host virtual booths during this hiring event held with area high school CTE programs
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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