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Economic development

Partnership, United Way Build Coaching CommunityÂ


United Way of Greater Houston and the partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative brought together the first group of career coaches from across the region to provide professional training to strengthen their capacity and skills. The cohort grew out of discussions between United Way of Greater Houston’s Workforce Training Network and UpSkill Houston leaders about how to empower area residents and students to successfully navigate the rapidly changing job market. The cohort will advance work already underway by United Way and UpSkill Houston to provide additional support to coaches and build a community of practice for coaches. The training is offered through the Skilling America training platform and aims to help larger coaches in Houston explore new, innovative ways to work with and support clients to get better jobs and careers and improve your economic mobility. Effective career training and guidance is a key pillar of UpSkill Houston’s long-term strategy to help all Houstonians develop relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunity and mobility. Skilling America’s eLearning platform provides competency-based training on coaching tools, technologies, data and methods, along with a resource library and community forum space for coaches to connect with peer navigators. Standardized training offers a common language and offers best practices and will help coaches in the region support clients struggling to navigate the workforce, recovering from life events, and seeking upskilling and advancement into better careers. “Developing a shared language and approach to career learning is extremely important as we build a collaborative community of practice. Our vision is that regardless of size and resources, all agencies will be equipped to provide the same level of quality service throughout the region. This platform helps us get there,” said Aaron Sturgeon, senior financial literacy program manager at United Way of Greater Houston. The Houston cohort will work through the courses and meet as a professional learning community to discuss the concepts and lessons and how to apply them in coaching settings. Â Training modules can be helpful for new coaches, but also as a tool for agencies to take advantage of, said David Fernandez, program manager at The Alliance, a Houston-based nonprofit serving refugees, immigrants and other groups of underserved populations, and a United Way Workforce Training Task Force facilitator, told the cohort. The platform’s modules are designed by practitioners for practitioners, he said, with much of the information “instantly actionable and relevant to the work you do,” he said. Skilling America is a national initiative born out of training piloted by Hope Street Group and Goodwill Industries Inc. Use of the Houston platform was offered by Goodwill Industries of Houston and evaluated by leaders of the United Way Workforce Coaching Network. The collaboration of United Way and the Partnership to Provide Supplemental Training for Coaches is partially funded by a grant from Texas Mutual Insurance. The Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative works to strengthen the talent pool employers need to grow their businesses and help all Houstonians build relevant skills and connect to good careers that increase their economic opportunities and mobility. United Way of Greater Houston, Goodwill Industries of Houston, The Alliance and Texas Mutual Insurance are among the initiative’s more than 200 employer, educational and nonprofit partners across the region. Find out more.

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