Training Programs & Other Employer Support

Skills Development Fund

The Skills Development Fund is Texas' premier job-training program providing local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. The Texas Workforce Commission administers funding for the program. Grants are provided to help a business, consortium of businesses, or trade union form partnerships with local community colleges and technical schools to provide custom job training. The Skills Development Fund pays for the training, the college administers the grant, and businesses create new jobs and improve the skills of their current workers. Average training costs are $2,000 per trainee. However, the benefit may vary depending on the proposal. Grants for a single business may be limited to $500,000.

The Recruit Texas is a part of the Skills Development Fund program that allows public community or technical colleges an opportunity to provide intensive and rapid response to, and support services for, employers expanding in or relocating operations to Texas and that will provide complex or high-skilled employment opportunities. Recruit Texas enables developing customized workforce training programs, fast-track curriculum development, workforce training-related support services for employers, instructor certification necessary to provide workforce training, and acquiring training equipment necessary for instructor certification and employment.

Skills for Small Business Program

The Skills for Small Business Program is an opportunity for small businesses (less than 100 employees) to train new workers or upgrade the skills of incumbent workers. The initiative was implemented by the Texas Workforce Commission in coordination with the Office of the Governor’s Small Business Forums to address the training needs of small business in Texas. Small businesses can apply funds to training offered by their local community or technical college, or the Texas Engineering Extension Service. TWC processes the applications and works with the college to fund the specific courses selected by businesses for their employees. The program funds tuition and fees up to $1,800 per newly hired employee and up to $900 per incumbent employee per 12-month period.

Self-Sufficiency Fund

The Self-Sufficiency Fund is a job-training program that is primarily designed for adult recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) or individuals at risk of becoming dependent on public assistance, which includes individuals earning less than $37,000 and who are the parent (custodial or non-custodial) of a dependent child. The program links the business community with local educational institutions and is administered by the Texas Workforce Commission. Training must result in an acceptable industry-recognized certification that leads to permanent full-time employment opportunities. The Fund makes grants available to eligible public colleges or to eligible private, non-profit organizations to provide customized job training and training support services for specific employers. Grant costs may include curriculum development, instructor fees and training materials, and certain work-related expenses for the trainees. Grants are typically for 12 months. The target cost per trainee is $2,100. Contracts that include one business partner may be limited to a maximum of $500,000.

Workforce Solutions

Two regional workforce development boards serve employers in the Austin metropolitan area. Workforce Solutions—Capital Area delivers services in Travis County and Workforce Solutions—Rural Capital delivers services in the remaining metro counties. Each year Workforce Solutions assists thousands of local employers with their recruitment, hiring, and retention needs. Most services are available at no cost or low cost and include:

  • Applicant recruiting: Recruitment, pre-screening and referral of motivated, qualified job applicants.
  • Skills Testing, Assessment and Evaluation: Skills testing, assessments and evaluations to measure job applicants’ aptitude and ability.
  • On-the-Job Training: Reimbursement of up to 50% a new hire’s salary for up to three months.
  • Incumbent Worker Training: Funding assistance to provide skills training to current full-time, permanent employees.
  • High Demand Job Training: Collaboratively with Economic Development Corporations, Workforce Development Boards can draw on sales tax funds to support provision of training.
  • Subsidized Employment: Program can provide reimbursement of 50% or more on straight time wages for eight weeks and applies to part-time as well as full-time employees.
  • Industry Partnership Program: Collaborations between workforce development boards and industry partners leverage matching contributions of cash or qualifying expenditures for occupational training for designated industry clusters.
  • Tax Credits & Incentives: Information and assistance on applying for available worker tax credit programs and funding programs.
  • Unlimited, real time, free job posting through statewide online job matching tool with access to thousands active job seekers.
  • Professional Outplacement Assistance/Rapid Response:Professional outplacement support for companies restructuring, downsizing or closing operations.
  • Layoff Aversion/Rapid Response: Layoff aversion funds can be used to support creative approaches and strategies to preserve jobs in emergency situations.
  • Conference Center: Conference center for meetings, customized job fairs and applicant interviews.
  • Business-focused seminars:Seminars and workshops targeting issues and challenges of employers in Central Texas.
  • Customized labor market information: Local and state labor market information including growth trends, wage data and labor supply.

Customary terms of some programs above are extended or enhanced in response to COVID-19.

Veteran employment

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Veterans Commission collaborate to support employers with veterans employment preference, as well as providing priority service to veteran job seekers. Veterans Resource and Referral Specialists are assigned to each of Texas’ 28 workforce development areas and work closely with Workforce Solutions office staff and Texas Veterans Commission staff who are co-located in Workforce Solutions offices. TWC’s Skills for Transition Program assists military service members who are preparing to separate from service within 180 days or who have been discharged within 180 days and will remain in Texas. Federal contractors can prioritize veteran access to their employment openings on, the state’s job board. The TWC also helps administer to Work Opportunity Tax Credit, a federal income tax benefit for employers who hire individuals in specified target populations, including veterans.

Shared Work Program

The Shared Work Program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business. Shared Work allows employers to:

  • Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.
  • Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10% but not more than 40%; the reduction must affect at least 10% of the employees in that unit.

Shared Work does not subsidize a seasonal employer during the off-season. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.