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Talent & Workforce

The Houston metro area is the most racially and ethnically diverse region in the United States and the fifth most populous metro with over 7.3 million people. A strong economy with expanding businesses, numerous universities and technical schools, and a relatively low cost of living that draws new residents combine to make this one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The metro area had the second largest numeric increase (124,281) in population of any U.S. metro from July 2021 to July 2022, reflecting a 1.7 percent increase. Consistently ranking among the nation's leaders when it comes to job growth, Houston set a record for employment growth in 2021, adding over 172,000 jobs. The Houston metro area added another 145,700 jobs the following year.

With a labor force of more than 3 million workers, the Houston area offers the large variety of talent at all skill levels necessary for a wide range of industries from professional services to health care and advanced manufacturing to aerospace. The region is also a growing hub for young talent, ranking among the top 10 in the U.S. for attracting millennials and retaining college graduates.

34.2%

Population with a bachelor's degree or higher

300,000+

Educated millennials

243,000+

Net tech workforce

There is also a regional focus on developing tomorrow's workforce through educating young people on emerging industries and re-training mid-career professionals for high-demand careers. Houston has developed a strong bridge between the talent needs of various industries and the educational programs being offered through colleges, universities and technical programs.

Explore Houston's diversity

Higher Education

The Houston region is home to more than 40 two-year community colleges and four-year universities, including three Tier 1 universities: Rice University, University of Houston, and Texas A&M University. Houston-area colleges and universities educate almost 425,000 students and graduate nearly 100,000 students annually. In addition, another estimated 20,000 students are enrolled annually in local trade, vocational, and business schools specializing in law, health care, welding, process technology, and other disciplines.

40+

Two-year community colleges and four-year universities

50

Trade, vocational, and business schools

425,000

Students enrolled in colleges and universities in fall '22

Two-Year Community Colleges
Four-Year or Above

Regional Workforce Development Initiatives

UpSkill Houston

The Greater Houston Partnership developed UpSkill Houston, a comprehensive, industry-led approach to bridge the gap and fill jobs in 'middle-skills' occupations.

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Houston Back on Track

Houston Back On Track is an employer-led job recovery initiative with a mission to help get Houstonians back on their feet by working with Houston employers with current openings for quality, future-focused jobs.

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Talent Resources Group

Launched in 2019, the Partnership's Talent Resources Group (TRG) provides HR professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters with access to information to grow their companies most important resource: talent.

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Related News

Education

Houston Universities and Colleges Witnessing Major Growth in Endowments

2/22/24
In recent years, Houston's academic landscape has witnessed a remarkable surge in endowments among its universities and colleges, garnering substantial support from donors for their efforts in driving innovation, advancing research and bolstering the region’s future workforce.  In 2021, Rice University exemplified this trend by achieving an endowment exceeding $8 billion. Building upon this success in 2022, the university maintained its strong position by securing the second-largest endowment assets in the Houston area, totaling an impressive $7.8 billion, as reported in the university's Endowment Report.  These substantial endowment assets serve as the cornerstone of Rice's financial stability, enabling the institution to fuel various initiatives aimed at advancement. From expanding faculty and introducing innovative programs to constructing cutting-edge facilities, the university's investments pave the way for groundbreaking research endeavors.  In 2023, Rice unveiled its most ambitious project yet—the Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science, sprawling 250,000 square-foot facility devoted to research, the university’s largest to date. Designed to foster collaboration among students and researchers, the building promises to be a hub for groundbreaking discoveries. Its realization was made possible by a generous $57 million donation from the founder of Ralph S. O'Connor & Associates.  San Jacinto College saw the largest growth in endowment assets among local universities and colleges, jumping from $7.4 million in 2019 to $25.2 million in 2022, according to the university’s Donor Impact Report.   In 2021, the college received its most substantial donation in history, a $30 million contribution from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott. This gift now supports the Student Success Fund Endowment to expand Promise @ San Jac Scholarships, which provides free tuition to recent graduates from local ISDs.  Additionally, in 2023, the college received $1.5 million from Houston Endowment to launch its second bachelor’s degree – a Bachelor of Applied Science in Education with an emphasis in early childhood education, which aims to fill the region’s teacher shortage.   As these institutions continue to see a rapid flow of philanthropic investments, the growth in endowments plays a pivotal role in enhancing educational opportunities and resources for students. Simultaneously, this serves as a catalyst for attracting top talent and cultivating a skilled pool of graduates prepared to meet the evolving needs of the region’s workforce.  Learn more about Houston’s universities and colleges.  
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Education

Rice University President Unveils Top Priorities, Research Initiatives

11/30/23
Rice University President Reggie DesRoches delved into the institution’s transformative advancements, identifying research and community collaboration as top priorities of focus at the Partnership’s annual State of Education.  Supporting nearly 9,000 students, Rice is a critical part of the region’s higher education ecosystem and serves as a catalyst for building Houston’s future workforce. To better serve Houston’s community and key industries, Rice has strategically increased its efforts to advance impactful research within the institution. These efforts include a significant 20% augmentation of undergraduate and graduate students, the addition of 200 faculty members and the inauguration of a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to energy transition research – The Ralph S. O’Connor Building for Engineering and Science.  “The focus of our research is not just to have research but to have an impact in the region and the greater community,” said DesRoches. DesRoches highlighted that Rice is also working to increase the presence of graduate students focusing on PhD programs, which will further expand the institution’s research initiatives. To drive more impactful research and to cement the university’s position as a leading innovation hub, DesRoches pointed to collaboration. Through the support and partnerships of local entities and organizations like The Ion Houston and Greentown Labs, Rice has established many groundbreaking programs such as the Entrepreneurship Exchange for Energy. These efforts underline the university's dedication to cultivating research and innovation within Houston and beyond. As a true testament of research and collaboration, Rice recently partnered with Houston Methodist to open the Center for Human Performance; a 6,000-square-foot research facility located in Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse. The new facility aims to propel research focusing on injury prevention and recovery, improving overall health across the region.  However, Rice sees more potential to be unlocked by leveraging the Texas Medical Center as a resource to deepen its engagement in health sciences, aiming for elevated contributions to the field. "The research and development stemming from [Rice University] are key drivers of technological advancement, which helps us attract businesses seeking to leverage the latest innovations to Houston," said Partnership President and CEO Bob Harvey.  Learn more about Houston’s Higher Education Institutions.
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Related Events

Economic Development

State of Education

The Greater Houston Partnership invites you to the State of Education on May 9 at the Royal Sonesta. The success of our region relies on a thriving public education system providing equitable…

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Get in touch with our team to assist with additional Talent questions, such as:

  • Workforce economy statistics 
  • Economic and employment data 
  • Assistance with skills development training
Peter Beard
Senior Vice President
Regional Workforce Development
E
pbeard@ifnayen.com
P
713-844-3602
Looking for the rest of our team?
Partnership Staff
Executive Partners