The City of Houston is seeking to focus its economic development activities in the traditionally underserved communities located generally east of downtown, which have the highest levels of unemployment, lowest levels of income and educational attainment, and represent the highest needs for job and workforce related programs in the city.
While the City has worked in partnership with many companies since 2010 to bring an estimated $4 billion in new capital investment to Houston and to create or retain more than 20,000 jobs, the positions created were primarily professional or high-skilled. Therefore, the first approach is to create an incentive program to attract large employers to east Houston that will provide the type of jobs that align with the educational attainment, job skills and mobility of community residents, such as manufacturing, distribution, warehouse, transportation and logistics facilities.
Supported by independent market analyses and studies, the City’s Office of Economic Development— with input from other City departments and external business, community, economic and workforce development agencies, and education-oriented stakeholders—will create a “One-Ten” incentive program (TBD). This program will be directly associated with the number of new jobs created and projects will be evaluated based on job type, pay/ benefits, access to promotion/ growth opportunities, career advancement and community benefits provided beyond the new jobs.
The second approach will focus on the development and support of small businesses desiring to do business in east Houston. This component will focus in providing professional, technical and financial resources encouraging the creation of new small businesses in this part of the city. The program will build on the City’s existing efforts to promote and support startups and small business development through increased collaboration with its Office of Business Opportunity.