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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.


Population with a bachelor's degree or higher


Educated millennials


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.


Two-year community colleges and four-year universities


Trade, vocational, and business schools


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

Workforce Development

Local Energy Companies Investing in Houston’s Future Workforce

To accommodate the growing demand for skilled workers, major energy companies are investing in local universities and colleges to equip the future workforce with the necessary skills needed to achieve an energy-abundant and low carbon future.    Shell Energy and bp America recently made a $1.7 million donation to Prairie View A&M (PVAM) to support the establishment of an energy trading program that aims to increase diversity in the industry. The two-year program will offer classroom and corporate training and individual mentoring experience, according to PVAM’s news release.  “The students at Prairie View A&M University are primed to bring new perspectives and voices into the energy sector,” said Carolyn Comer, President, Shell Energy North America. “The Energy Trading Program is a significant step in attracting the best and most diverse talent and giving them the training, mentoring and hands-on experience needed to forge successful paths after graduation.”  This isn’t the first investment into PVAM for Shell or bp. Last year, bp awarded the university $1.35 million through its HBCU Fellowship Program, providing students with scholarship funding, exposure to the energy industry and career development experience.  “We need the best and the brightest talent as we transform our company,” said Mark Crawford, bp’s senior vice president, global diversity, equity and inclusion. “We are thrilled to work with [Prairie View A&M University] and provide students with an opportunity to earn a degree while giving them real-world experience in the exciting and evolving energy sector.”  LyondellBasell has also taken major strides to advance this effort by partnering with San Jacinto College. In 2019, the energy giant helped the university open its Center for Petrochemical Energy and Technology through a $5 million donation. Featuring an array of interactive classrooms, labs, workstations and collaborative spaces, the center aims to provide students with hands-on training and experience to equip them for a job in the industry.   "The need for a facility like this has never been greater," Jim Griffin, CPET associate vice chancellor and senior vice president, said in a news release. "We're seeing a growing industry that's investing more than $60 billion in new capital locally. At the same time our baby boomers are exiting the workforce, so the workforce needs are growing along with the job opportunities. This new facility expands the College's capabilities to bridge that gap by developing and training the industry's current and future workforce in a technologically advanced environment designed with industry input."  Recently, Woodside Energy provided $12.5 million to support Rice University’s decarbonization initiative that aims to bring breakthrough decarbonization technology from the Rice labs to market, focusing on manufacturing products derived from captured carbon dioxide and methane.  Additionally, Accenture is also working to bridge the middle-skills gap in Houston’s emerging Hydrogen economy through its collaboration with the Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) and Upskill Houston. This effort will map key hydrogen careers and offer new opportunities for Houston’s disadvantaged communities to be part of the energy transition.    Learn more about Houston's Energy Transition Initiative. 
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Houston Universities and Colleges Witnessing Major Growth in Endowments

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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Related Events

Economic Development

Upskill Works - Houston Hydrogen Talent Strategy

Discover the opportunities…

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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
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Partnership Staff
Executive Partners