The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) announced a major, regional workforce development initiative at today’s Global Cities Initiative event presented by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
“We must ensure that Houstonians have the skills and opportunities to enter the workforce and build successful careers, raise families and prosper,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of GHP, “At the same time, we must see that the workforce needs of our rapidly expanding economy are met. These are two sides to the same coin.”
As the area’s largest business organization, GHP has been a longtime advocate for job creation. Through the organization’s Opportunity Houston campaign, GHP helped the Houston region create more than 428,000 jobs since 2005. In 2012 alone, GHP directly participated in the creation of 27,333 jobs in Houston – more than 25 percent of all jobs created in the region – and generated $2.6 billion in capital investment. GHP is projecting that the Greater Houston economy will add 76,000 new jobs in 2013.
“It’s no secret that Houston is a job-creating machine,” Harvey continued. “We must develop a qualified employee base properly trained for tomorrow’s job needs or face an understaffed economy that will stifle the growth and vitality of our region.”
The workforce development initiative will be guided by the GHP Regional Workforce Development Task Force comprised of prominent local leaders from the business, education, workforce training, and social services communities. The task force will be co-chaired by Gina Luna, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase in Houston, and Bruce Culpepper, Executive Vice President of Human Resource at Shell, Americas. The task force will operate throughout 2013 to assess the current situation and identify the most promising initiatives to begin in 2014.
The Partnership is planning to commission a major study by a workforce development consultant with results expected later this fall. This research will present an assessment of Houston’s workforce situation, including information specific to particular industry clusters and skill categories. The report will also include a gap analysis studying existing talent programs and their ability to meet the needs of future available positions.
The task force is expected to identify both near-term and long-term priorities. It will address questions such as which industry clusters and skill categories warrant the most immediate attention and which existing and proposed programs offer the most promising potential. While the effort will stress improvement opportunities and impact over the next one to five years, it will also consider longer-term issues.
“The Houston region boasts some of the world’s most prominent and talented leaders,” Harvey said, “We look forward to working with them to build the region’s workforce for the coming decades.”
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