High Skill, High Growth Jobs!
Attention (potential) job candidates of the Houston-Galveston Region. The Gulf Coast is thriving. Those who live here are enjoying one of the best labor markets in the world. Those who do not live here are moving in.
In 2013, when I first became a member of Workforce Solutions as a greeter, a vice president of my company told us that Houston had an oversupply of U-Haul trucks in all the facilities. This was a key indicator that people were moving here, and they were moving fast. Two years later, despite the drop in oil prices, people are still moving here quickly. Why, do you ask? It is because we have the most jobs in key industries that produce the highest gross domestic product globally.
Here in the 13 counties of the Gulf Coast region, we focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These fields provide adults and young adults with skills that will give businesses the best talent and workers to make this region thrive. Each summer, Workforce Solutions hosts college and career institutes for young adults to expose them to the jobs that are here, and here to stay. From day one, high school students generally have no clue what a procurement specialist or an HVAC technician is. After seeing the ease, affordability and payoff of these fields during the institutes, community colleges could not sign them up quick enough. Perhaps the best part of this is that several of these jobs do not require a Bachelor’s Degree. At Workforce Solutions, we refer to these jobs as High-Skill, High-Growth occupations (HSHG).
In order to fall into this category of HSHG occupations, these jobs should pay above average wages, be in demand through 2020 and not necessarily require a four-year degree. UpSkill Houston is a campaign that the Greater Houston Partnership, Workforce Solutions, JP Morgan Chase and local community colleges have launched to assure that Houston will have the best people for the best jobs for the best employers. Instead of placing our priority on obtaining degrees, we focus more on certificates that workers obtain once they demonstrate skills. Job candidates leave these programs better prepared and at a fraction of the price.
The middle skills that we are presenting to our young adults are in health services, specialty construction, energy, professional services and education. Students are able to speak, for example, with representatives from Shell, Southwest Shipyard and Primerica to get perspectives from those with “real-world” experience. Workforce Solutions will continue to provide these institutes next summer at Houston Community College, San Jacinto College and Lone Star College.
We pride ourselves with having the resources to make these industries competitive in the global economy. The plan is to stay ahead of the game and provide all individuals who live here the most comfortable and prosperous lives possible. After two years of working at Workforce Solutions, I now have the joy and opportunity to give the career expertise that was not available in my high school years. My goal is to “upskill” you in order to “stem” limitless opportunities in our region.
Diego Trevino is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. Before joining the regional team, he served as a greeter, employment counselor and staffing specialist. Earlier in his career he traveled to South Korea where he taught students English. He uses past teaching experiences and present workforce knowledge to conduct job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast Region.