COVID-19 has disrupted many of our lives and our organizations. We wish our partners well and hope for their continued wellness and safety. We understand that our partners have shifted their priorities to deal with immediate issues. Community organizations are working with their clients whose lives are being upended with economic uncertainty. School leaders are supporting students and teachers who are trying to navigate remote and virtual learning. Employers are continuing to run their businesses while trying to ensure their workers are safe and healthy.
As with many of you, we have closed our offices and moved to virtual meetings. The staff are teleworking from home (and are available by phone and email). The Greater Houston Partnership is curating and sharing the best resources on addressing COVID-19 with the region. See: https://www.houston.org/coronavirus
UpSkill Houston focused its attention in 2019 on developing a bold five-year strategy to accelerate and scale our work and we have already started working on elements of the strategy. In the coming weeks, the UpSkill Houston team will focus on advancing two key pillars of that work:
- Communicating the skills and credentials that are needed in some of the priority occupations—including technical and cognitive/soft skills; and
- Strengthening career guidance and coaching with a focus on tools and information to support career counselors in schools and colleges and career coaches in community organizations.
Our strategy work has been informed by updated labor market information that will focus our work on middle-skill occupations that are projected to be in high demand with high volume need, as well as pay above the median wage. So, we will continue to work with our industry partners to identify the skills needed in these high-priority occupations. In addition, we will be convening working groups of our executive committee to build out our work to strengthen career guidance and coaching.
We believe that these efforts will position our collective work for success as we emerge from the impacts of COVID-19 on Houston and our residents. I wish you good health and strength in the days and weeks ahead.