January 2, 2019
John C. Roper
The Greater Houston Partnership has developed an online tool to help address the growing shortage of workers for middle-skills jobs.
The tool features a series of "My Life As" career videos of young workers in various careers in Houston. A fact sheet with each video offers details on that career. All the careers featured in the videos require less than a bachelor's degree.
The tool was developed through the partnership's "UpSkill Houston" program, a collaborative of regional employers and educators addressing the so-called skills gap.
Middle-skill jobs typically require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree. These jobs represent the largest part of the U.S. labor market, including in metro Houston. Industries in Houston, including construction, transportation, health care, and oil and gas, struggle to find enough trained workers. In turn, company growth is often stymied.
Construction companies are especially feeling the pinch. About 78 percent of construction firms in Texas are having trouble finding qualified craft workers as local construction employment reached record levels, according to a 2018 survey by Associated General Contractors.
"In working last year with several area school districts, we learned that students are eager to hear about rewarding careers in Houston from young workers sharing their experiences," said Dan Gilbane, senior vice president for the Southwest Division of Gilbane Building Co. and chair of the Executive Committee of UpSkill Houston. "This innovative tool can inspire students to pursue well-paid, exciting technical and craft careers and fill gaps in the workforce of Houston's fast-growing industries."
The videos can be viewed at www.UpSkillMyLife.org.
Article originally published in Houston Chronicle, Jan. 2, 2019