A More “Hands On” Approach Needed For Job Training & Placement Efforts Say Regional Workforce Advocates

(HOUSTON) Structural changes in education, continued industrial diversification, and a commitment to constant skills development will enhance the region’s future competitiveness according to recommendations contained in a new report card released by the Gulf Coast Workforce Board.

The seventh edition of the regional Workforce Report Card compares the Gulf Coast to eight similarly situated regions areas to gauge performance on six key indicators: Macro economy & industry dynamics, labor force composition, educational achievement & investment, quality of life, and income, wealth & poverty. Houston and the Gulf Coast region rank right in the middle, according to the report card.

“To maintain a long-term competitive edge we need to focus on building a workforce nimble enough to leverage disruptions caused by continuing advances in technology, employer-driven talent development strategies aimed at adapting to a rapidly changing workplace, and building on our region’s existing strengths to diversify our industry base,” said Gulf Coast Workforce Board Chair Mark Guthrie.

Tuesday, board members and stakeholders from a variety of community-based organizations gathered to provide feedback and suggestions on implementing the report card’s three recommendations. Among those in attendance were Claudia Ortega-Pogue, District Director for U.S. Representative Sylvia Garcia, Rommell Williams with the Houston Area Urban League, and Chuck Gremillion, the Executive Director of C3, or Construction Career Collaborative, who pointed out that employers need help training their workforce, “They don’t have the resources and organization to do it, nor the know-how.” Once C3 works with an employer, he explained, they better understand the benefits of partnering with Workforce Solutions to provide on-the-job training programs and become very supportive of increasing those efforts.

“I would love to see more intentional engagement from employers,” said The Urban League’s Rommell Williams. Others on the panel offered examples such as expanding mentorship and internship opportunities, to help young people more clearly visualize a career pathway, and marketing directly to students to help them understand their future earning potential.

Additional round table discussions are scheduled throughout September around the region. For a complete schedule and to obtain a copy of the Workforce Report Card, visit www.wrksolutions.com/reportcard.