In the past month Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) in partnership with Workforce Solutions Alamo (WSA) have released over $150,000 training funds for businesses throughout our region. These funds are different, but still the same for trainee criteria. There is still a percentage of the funds that must be used for displaced workers and those that qualify under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); but there are also funds that are available for incumbent workers to accomplish upskill training.

The talk around upskill training has been fairly common since the onset of the pandemic – mostly due to some corporate level downsizing in the northern tier of the U.S. but we have not seen those same trends in the south. Upskill training can be useful for both the employer and the employee – mutually beneficial is the term that is used in the grant verbiage. According to the grant, the “training needs to fulfill a predetermined need within an operating business that cannot be filled with a (new) semi-skilled entry level employee.” Essentially the funding can be used for any employee that a business deems to be employed below their capability, and that the employer has a job that they may be able to upskill their employee into – sort of a promotion in many cases.

These funds are currently not being used to their fullest capacity and TWC readily acknowledges that this can be attributed to employers still attempting to catch up on lost revenue from 2020. The local workforce board explains that in many cases employers are hesitant to provide the “time-off” to employees for training because there is a concern that the new skills that are gained make the employee more attractive to other employment – and this is true in many of the cases. The fact behind this is that many of the employees that participate in the upskill training are still employed at the employer that provided them the opportunity to attend training one year later – 78% of these employees to be exact. So, if you are not sending your employees to grant funding training for the 22% of employees that may leave your business – you may be missing out a greater percentage of those employees that stay put with their employer.

To access the funds, you can contact Workforce Solutions Alamo or call the Chamber’s Economic Development Department and they can connect you directly with those that are distributing and qualifying people for the training.