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2009-09-03 digital edition

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2009-09-03 / General Stories

$90 Million Available to Employers to Train Texas Workers

TWC administers Skills Development Fund to address industry needs

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) encourages Texas employers to take advantage of $90 million available to help Texas workers and job seekers gain valuable workplace skills. Appropriated by the Texas Legislature for the 2010-2011 biennium, the Skills Development Fund will provide customized training programs designed through the collaborative efforts of TWC, private sector employers and public community and technical colleges.

"Now is the perfect time for Texas employers to address skills shortages by creating quality training programs targeting critical industry needs," said TWC Chairman Tom Pauken.

The $90 million is the most significant increase in funding in the history of the Skills Development Fund program. Since its inception in 1996, the fund has helped 3,263 employers create 76,191 jobs and upgrade the skills of 208,630 workers. In the 2008 fiscal year, the grants created or upgraded 19,689 jobs which paid an average hourly wage of $24.29. The Skills Development Fund supports the Governor's Industry Cluster Initiative which focuses on industry clusters that offer the best promise for future job growth.

"The Skills program is an effective way for job seekers to prepare for new jobs and for incumbent workers to upgrade their skills," said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. "The Skills Development Fund grants provide specialized training that benefits both employers and workers."

In a typical Skills Development Fund training program, a business, consortium of businesses or trade union identifies a training need, then partners with a public, community or technical college or the Texas Engineering Extension Service to put together a program to train workers with new skills. All Skills Development Fund grants are administered by the college. The college also provides the training directly or enlists the services of other training providers to meet the customized training needs of the business.

"Everyone benefits from this highly successful program," said TWC Commissioner Representing the Public Andres Alcantar. "Texas gains a workforce with current, market-driven skills, job seekers position themselves for employment, employers gain valuable skilled workers, and colleges and training institutions develop high-demand courses for their communities."

TWC and local workforce development boards are available to offer technical assistance for those preparing a grant proposal. TWC's Workforce Business Services Department will provide business leads and consultation, and can assist businesses in finding the appropriate educational institution to collaborate with when creating a project.

Employers seeking more information about the Skills Development Fund may visit the TWC Web site at www.twc.state.tx.us/ svcs/funds/sdfintro.html.

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