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‘Inspiration Lives Here’: How Pearland, Texas, Is Building A Strong Workforce Community


The greater Houston region is seeing massive growth in its labor force, and one suburb, Pearland, grew its workforce from 31,302 people in 2005 to more than 67,000 in 2023

As a result, the Pearland Economic Development Corp. is taking a proactive approach to ensure the growing workforce meets the needs of local employers, PEDC Vice President Brian Malone said.  

“We’re not just sitting on our hands thinking of strategies to meet the workforce demand here in Pearland,” Malone said. “We have an active role in creating a powerful and collaborative infrastructure to help Pearland grow as a hub while keeping our community strong.”

PEDC oversees multiple programs in Pearland to help new and existing businesses prosper. 

The BizConnect program is a collaboration that started in 2003 with the Pearland Chamber of Commerce, a business retention and expansion program that addresses issues local firms face and creates a more stable business environment.

“The BizConnect program has provided the business community with a tool to help solve critical problems they may be encountering by having a team in place to troubleshoot these issues,” Malone said. 

Work in Pearland, a workforce and job resource program, has been in effect since March 2023. Work in Pearland serves as a vital link connecting employers to Pearland's workforce and providing comprehensive job postings, regional training programs and workforce support systems, PEDC Workforce Director Mou Sarkar said.

“We’ve been able to showcase more than 70 businesses and their career opportunities at no cost to the employer or job seeker,” she said. “Nearly 2,200 job seekers are currently utilizing the program, and more than 500 job applications have been submitted through the program just in 2024, and that number continues to grow daily.”

Sarkar said Pearland is also seeing continued success with its collaborative efforts in developing the talent pipelines necessary to sustain its growing life sciences industry. The first cohort of students graduated in December 2023 from a newly launched 12-week biotech certification program that was developed in partnership with Alvin Community College and Pearland biotech companies Lonza Houston, Millar Inc., Merit Medical and nonprofit BioHouston. 

“The second cohort just launched in January,” Sarkar said. “We hope that this program will continue to be a catalyst for growth in our demanding biotech industry as it continues to evolve.” 

One of the challenges some students face is tuition costs. However, the High Demand Job Training Grant can be a solution for getting much-needed funding to people in search of skills training, Sarkar said. 

“We're working with the Texas Workforce Commission and Gulf Coast Workforce Board to apply for funding to provide a high-job-demand training program for people that need assistance,” she said. “We’ll be able to award up to 40 scholarships for our residents interested in continuing their career pathway.” 

The PEDC is also serving on the advisory board of the new biomanufacturing training program being developed by nearby San Jacinto College to help train new biotech employees without impacting their manufacturing operations. The facility is close to major businesses and will offer customizable training and onboarding certificate short courses starting in March for the ongoing training of the professionals working in biotech companies, Sarkar said. 

This year, the PEDC is continuing to grow its outreach to entrepreneurs and small businesses through the Pearland Innovation Hub. PIH started as a virtual community, but now there is a physical space for events, networking and fostering in-person connections. 

Malone said the PIH hosts a regular monthly networking event called Meet the Coaches, which helps businesses meet and seek encouragement and advice. Coaching is designed to be a one-on-one event and can be done in person or virtually, he said.

“One of PEDC’s big goals in 2024 is to create a community hub that provides resources and compiles the data in an asset map,” Sarkar said. “This way, we can fill in any workforce gaps and help create an easier pathway for our residents from high school to the collegiate level to get job-related support systems, connection to resources related to economic stability, health and education, as well as access to internships, apprenticeships, workforce training and on-the-job training.”

This supports Pearland's message that “inspiration lives here” in a community where residents and business owners can feel more connected and get the guidance they need to succeed, Malone said.

Millar, a medical device manufacturer in Pearland’s Lower Kirby District, is one of those businesses. 

“This is a 56K SF facility providing breakthrough technology in life-saving medical innovations,” Malone said. “It is providing many jobs to our local community.”

Malone said that PEDC is focused on more than just commerce. It is about creating a personal connection between Pearland’s business owners, residents and community leadership.

“We want our businesses to feel more included in Pearland and know who to speak to when in need,” Malone said. “We host regular industry luncheons and connect with Pearland employers regularly. We want everyone to know each other by name and face to address any issues.” 

Sarkar said it is this tight-knit, collaborative approach that has helped the city expand without compromising its small-town appeal. 

“We believe that the strength of collaboration and a sense of community has helped businesses feel comfortable finding a home here in Pearland,” Sarkar said. “We’re staying ahead of the curve and being strategic and proactive to continue to evolve our city. And while we have a small-town feel, our rapid growth shows that we are no longer the small town from yesteryear.” 

This article was produced in collaboration between the Pearland Economic Development Corp. and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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