hard at work

This Houston-area county clocks in as top U.S. spot for workforce talent

Attracting top talent is important for long-term success. 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Despite a tough year for the nation, Fort Bend County keeps winning. In July, the Houston-area county was named the most charitable in Texas. Later, Sugar Land, the anchor city of Fort Bend County, was named one of America's best small cities.

Sugar Land was also named one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Shoppers in Sugar Land are even ranked as some of the biggest holiday spenders in the nation.

Now comes news that bustling Fort Bend is among the country's top large counties for the ability to recruit and develop workforce talent in a new ranking by mapping software company, Esri. The county could attract even more employers and residents once they pore over this year's Talent Attraction Scorecard from mapping software company Esri. The scorecard, released December 8, ranks Fort Bend No. 11 overall.

Esri relied on six data points to come up with its rankings:

  • Net migration
  • Overall job growth
  • Growth of skilled jobs
  • Level of education
  • Regional competitiveness
  • Annual job openings per capita

Fort Bend ranks high in education attainment and job migration in the new study.

Another Texas county scored third in the Esri ranking. Dallas-area Collin County is home to heavyweight employers like FedEx Office, Frito-Lay, J.C. Penney, and Toyota, and it continues to draw thousands of new workers each year.

Elsewhere in Texas:

  • Williamson County (Austin area) ranks fourth among large counties.
  • Montgomery County (Houston area) ranks ninth among large counties.
  • Travis County (Austin area) ranks 17th among large counties.
  • Kendall County (San Antonio area) ranks ninth among small counties.

Overall, four Texas counties are in the top 10 among large counties. "While they rank well across the index, the common theme with all of them is they are suburbs of major metros, and are seeing a migration from those metros," the report says.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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