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UpSkill Works Forum

The UpSkill Houston initiative’s UpSkill Works Forum Series presents conversations with regional business, education and community leaders, policy makers and high-profile thought leaders on the key workforce issues the greater Houston region confronts. The series supports and advances the initiative’s work to help employers identify the key skills they need for workers to be successful, provide relevant information about careers and pathways, and drive effective career guidance. 

Future of Work

Building a highly skilled workforce is critical to strengthening and supporting Houston’s global competitiveness and to improving economic opportunity for its residents. These thought leader conversations highlight research, tools and practices that inform workforce development decisions. 

The Clean Energy Workforce of the Future

The energy transition is driving an evolution of the clean energy workforce. As a leader in the transition, the Houston and Texas Gulf Coast region is poised to prepare this workforce and successfully shift to a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and sustainable energy future. Lady Idos of the U.S. Department of Energy and Katie Mehnert of ALLY Energy join the Partnership’s Bryant Black and Peter Beard to discuss workforce trends, clean energy jobs, and necessary workforce skills.


Digital Skills: Powering Houston's Future!

General Assembly's Tom Ogletree discusses the organization's pioneering approach to education and career transformation focused on in-demand business skills in coding, data analytics, project management, and digital design, and how it engages with employers to meet their needs.


Blazing New Frontiers: The Untapped Potential of Apprenticeships

Harvard Business School's Joseph B. Fuller and Accenture's Mary Beth Gracy explore the apprenticeship as an underutilized tool for developing talent for a broad scope of industries and job roles while closing skills gaps and creating economic opportunity and mobility. Later, they’re joined by Aon's Dawn Spreeman-Heine to announce the formation of the Greater Houston Apprentice Network.


America's Indispensable Institutions - The Role of Community Colleges in Economic Recovery

Tamar Jacoby, president of think tank Opportunity America, joins Peter Beard, Greater Houston Partnership senior vice president of regional workforce development, for an UpSkill Works Forum exploring Opportunity America's new report "The Indispensable Institution - Reimagining Community College" and how community colleges can live up to their potential as premier providers of career-focused education and training.


Building a Talent Strong Texas

Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Harrison Keller discusses the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's new plan for building a talent strong Texas and its implications for post-secondary education across Greater Houston.


Are We Ready For the Future of Work?

How do American workers view the economy? What do they think about the skills they have and about obtaining more? Working Nation President Jane Oates and Greater Houston Partnership Vice President of Regional Workforce Development Peter Beard discuss findings from the new WorkingNation American Workers Survey and their implications for workers, students, educators, employers and career coaches.


Upgrading Career Prospects for Houston's Middle-Skill Workforce

Guests Marcela Escobari and Ian Seyal, of the Brookings Institution's Workforce of the Future initiative, talk with the Partnership's Peter Beard about reskilling opportunities and mobility.


Skills Matter

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a fundamental change in the education and skills needed to be successful in today’s dynamic economy. These discussions with employers, researchers and educators underscore the skills workers need today and will need in the future, and how these skills can be identified, developed and demonstrated.

Talent With Skills = Workforce STARs

Byron Auguste, co-founder and CEO of Opportunity@Work discusses the demographics and strengths of talent who developed their Skills Through Alternative Routes (STARs)—those other than a four-year bachelor's degree—and the value they hold for employers.


Unlock Opportunity for America's Workers Through Education & Lifelong Learning

Guild Education's Employer Solutions Principal Matthew Daniel and Peter Beard, Greater Houston Partnership senior vice president of regional workforce development, discuss how employers can make education benefits easy for employees to access and designed with their needs in mind, and how doing so can help employee retention and mobility.


Understanding Skills to Navigate the Changing Nature of Work

Greg Hambrick, of Fast Forward Works; Dr. Fred Oswald, professor and director of graduate studies of Rice University School of Social Sciences' Dr. Fred Oswald; and Mandy Williams, aka "Black," of RED+BLACK, engage in a conversation with the Partnership’s Peter Beard around how employers can identify skills that drive success and how we can help individuals identify and obtain jobs matched to their particular skill sets.


Career Coaching to Support Workers & Learners

Career counselors and educators are instrumental in helping individuals make informed career decisions. These conversations present data, tools and information educators, career counselors and community leaders can use to help individuals identify and navigate pathways to good jobs and to advance their careers.  

Dissecting Data: What Numbers Say About Houston's Recovery & How to Achieve It

Parker Harvey, principal economist for the Gulf Coast Workforce Board and Workforce Solutions, shares labor market data including job recovery, the establishment of new businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and top hard skills employers seek in hires — and his insights into it means.


Pathways to Better Opportunity: How Employers Can Support Workforce Recovery

Business leaders discuss strategies and approaches that support an inclusive economic and workforce recovery and the new job recovery initiative Houston Back on Track.


Understanding Today's Jobseekers: Insights into Motivations and Anxieties

Personas can be powerful tools that help employers and organizations that provide skills training and other supports understand today’s jobseekers.


Gateways to Career Exploration & Pathways

Bryant Black, the Greater Houston Partnership's director of regional workforce development, and guests Victoria Chen, co-founder and executive director of BridgeYear, and Laura Chrisco Brennan, director of Texas OnCourse, discuss experiential approaches to career exploration that offer middle school and high school students the opportunity to test their skills and explore career options.


Talent and Opportunity Grows Here

How do Community based organizations feed the talent pipeline? Mary Silbert, Northwest Assistance Ministries learning center director; Samantha Sherman, Wesley Community Center chief program officer; and Eric Goodie, Houston Area Urban League vice president of growth and sustainability, speak with Greater Houston Partnership Vice President of Regional Workforce Development Peter Beard about how community based organizations are uniquely equipped to train, place and grow talent employers need and help Houstonians to follow pathways into good career opportunities.


Upskilling, Reskilling & New TWC Workforce Funding

The Texas Workforce Commission's Courtney Arbour and Dale A. Robertson discuss with the Partnership’s Peter Beard funding available for skills development training programs and for individuals who want to enhance their skills.


Economic Insights & Workforce Challenges Revisited

Gulf Coast Workforce Board Principal Economist Parker Harvey shares insights into May and June labor market data for the Greater Houston region.


Designing Virtual and Micro-Internships

Katherine Taylor of Genesys Works Houston, Jeffrey Moss of Parker Dewey LLC. and the Partnership's Peter Beard examine the value of remote and micro-internships for businesses and interns.


Insights Into Current & Future Workforce Challenges

Gulf Coast Workforce Board Principal Economist Parker Harvey and the Partnership's Peter Beard discuss the changing labor market due to COVID-19 along with current and future workforce challenges.


New Mission, Transferable Talent

Stephanie Drake, of NextOp Veterans, and Carla Thompson, of Turner Industries Group, discuss the transferable skills and experiences that military veterans bring to the civilian workforce.


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