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Hiring for Heart, Hunger and Humility: Employer Partners Share Truths About Human Skills and Hiring Decisions

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The following article was authored by Peter Beard and originally published on the Greater Houston Partnership's blog.

A person with the right attitude can go far in life.

Having heart, ambition, persistence humility, and the ability to build relationships can be the difference between career advancement and unemployment.

It’s okay to come to a job with no experience because a good hire can develop necessary skills with on-the-job training or through educational opportunities sponsored by an employer.

These statements may not sound like career advice from experts from leading employers within industries that require a workforce that’s highly skilled in a craft or trade or that uses cutting-edge technology, but it is.

Representatives from several employer partners of the Greater Houston Partnership's UpSkill Houston initiative shared this advice for students and young people with CTE instructors and administrators during two recent career readiness panels. The partners participating in the event that was organized and held by the Region 4 Education Service Center included Construction Career Collaborative (C3), Group 1 Automotive, LyondellBasell, MAREK, Mustang Cat, the Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and Turner Industries.  Regardless of industry or working environment (office, work site, or shop floor), human skills are key for hiring and critical to success.

The commercial and industrial construction, petrochemical manufacturing, and transportation industries are critical to Greater Houston’s national and global competitiveness and they’re expanding thanks to increased investment and growing regional needs. But they also face workforce shortages in part due to attrition and in part due to a lack of awareness or understanding of workforce opportunities. 

UpSkill Houston’s partner panelists confronted misconceptions around working conditions they know keep young people from pursuing otherwise attractive occupations in their industries that come with high pay, job security, and opportunity for growth:

Being an automotive technician isn’t just about turning a wrench, and today’s service areas are clean and equipped with the latest diagnostic technology.

The construction industry encompasses a wide range of occupations (from rigger to millwright to welder to pipefitter), each with a path for sustainable employability.

The petrochemical manufacturing industry – like the commercial and industrial construction and transportation industries – place safety above all else and want employees to return home after each day or shift just the way they arrived at work.

These points highlight the critical role of business leaders to make meaningful connections and share insights with educational partners committed to helping students make smart decisions about their careers and futures. These industry insights are important for students, parents, and young people across the region to recognize and understand as they explore the wealth of career opportunities that await after high school and to know the skills needed for success. 

Learn more about UpSkill Houston's work to address both the regional skills gap and people gap.

Peter Beard is the Senior Vice President of Regional Workforce Development at Greater Houston Partnership.