Skills Development Fund – Training Providers & Workforce Development Partners

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Overview

Skills Development Fund Train Your Workforce Power Your Business

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. For Fiscal Years 2014-2015, the Texas Workforce Commission provides access to $48 million in training dollars to support high-quality customized training projects statewide. During fiscal year 2013, TWC:

  • Awarded 40 Skills Development Fund grants totaling $21,482,338
  • Served 70 Texas businesses
  • Supported the creation of 3,409 new jobs
  • Upgraded the skills of 10,833 workers in existing jobs

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How the Skills Development Fund Works

A business, consortium of businesses, or trade union identifies a training need, and then partners with a public community or technical college to fill its specific needs. Businesses work with college partners to submit proposals, develop curricula and conduct 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.

TWC accepts project proposal submissions throughout the year with each grant typically lasting 12 months.

TWC provides access to a team of highly skilled professionals who provide technical assistance, at no charge, to help streamline the development of projects and proposals. Our team is available to work directly with employers, colleges, Workforce Development Boards and economic development partners throughout the life of the project to ensure employers are getting the training their workers need.

The Business Outreach and Project Development Team will:

  • Provide technical assistance
  • Advise and assist partners with developing quality proposals
  • Review "draft" proposals prior to formal submission

Project developers are highly encouraged to take advantage of technical assistance prior to final proposal submission.

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Grant Information

Public community or technical colleges or the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) are the eligible grant applicants, fiscal agents, and coordinators for training funded through the Skills Development Fund.

Grants for a single business may be limited to $500,000, and can be applied toward tuition, curriculum development, instructor fees and training materials. Grant funds may not be used to pay for trainee wages, drug testing, travel costs and certain equipment purchases.

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 reasonably close to that of the statewide average for all Skills Development Fund grants

Training Categories

To ensure that participating employers receive the training they need to address changing business needs and workforce skills gaps, training courses funded under the program should conform to the parameters for each training category, described below:

  • Business Technical – At least 55% of the total training hours for a Skills Development Fund grant must be business technical courses, which are occupational-specific courses. Industry-specific examples include metrology, pneumatics, mechanical maintenance and; finance, and nurse certification.
  • General Technical – Up to 45% of the total training hours for a Skills Development Fund grant may be general technical courses, which are courses that may be essential to the occupation but are more basic and foundational. General technical training may include, for example, Lean and Six Sigma courses, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses, and Microsoft Office and other computer courses.
  • Non-Technical – No more than 10% of the total training hours for a Skills Development Fund grant may be in non-technical courses such as leadership, communication and team building courses.

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Forms

The Skills Development Fund proposal package includes a signed agreement between the college and business outlining the partners’ roles and responsibilities. The following forms are also included with the proposal:

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Contact Information

TWC Employer Initiatives Outreach and Project Development

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Last Verified: November 26, 2014

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