The state-funded Skills Development Fund provides local customized training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers to increase skill levels and wages of the Texas workforce. Training providers can use grant funds for curriculum development, training materials, instructor certifications and training equipment additions or upgrades.
As the primary Skills Development Fund training provider, the college partners gain an enhanced ability to respond to the evolving needs of industry. Businesses gain a more highly trained workforce, workers upgrade their skills, and the economy of Texas strengthens as a whole.
The Texas Workforce Commission administers funding for the program which involves collaborations among businesses, public community and technical colleges who serve as grantee training providers, the Workforce Development Boards and local economic development partners.
Skills Development Fund grants emphasize highly technical training curricula appropriate to the participating business partner's industry. This customized training includes:
- Tailored curriculum specific to the business partner's needs
- Classes conducted at the employer's site or at the training provider's location
- Flexible class schedules to minimize impact to employers
- Addressing company needs in real time using real work situations.
Wages paid to trainees must be equal to or greater than the prevailing wages for the same or similar occupations in the area where the business is located. Additional factors that may be considered in proposal evaluations include:
- Positive economic impact on the local region where grant is awarded
- The applicant's current and past performance on Skills Development Fund grants
- Equitable geographic distribution of grants awarded across the state
- The inclusion of small- and medium-sized businesses
- The fiscal stability of the business partners
- Cost per trainee is close to that of the statewide average for all Skills Development Fund grants
Since its inception in 1996, the skills program has helped 4,446 employers create 116,065 jobs and upgrade the skills of 256,885 incumbent workers, for a total of 372,950 workers trained. Participating workers have received career and/or advancement opportunities at the completion of training, which includes wages equal to or greater than the prevailing wage in the local area. Statewide, the average wage paid to workers trained with skills grants has increased from $10.33 an hour in FY 1996 to $28.54 an hour in FY 2018.