The public commissioner’s office serves as the representative for the public, promoting and supporting the growth of Texas’ world-class employers and talented workforce. In this capacity, the office advances innovative workforce and economic development strategies in collaboration with education partners, local leaders, and industry to preserve Texas’ competitive edge as the best place to work in the world.
Middle Skills Initiative
Due to technological advances in the workplace, employment demand has dramatically increased for individuals with middle skills. Middle-skilled workers are defined as workers with some education beyond high school but less than a four-year degree.
Middle-skill jobs are the pillars of the Texas economy. They provide the basic infrastructure for the Lone Star State’s diverse industries, such as traditional and renewable energy, aerospace development, manufacturing, biomedical services, electronics, and construction. For Texas to stay at the top of the world’s largest economy, the state must continue its commitment to job creation, economic development and its workforce.
"The Texas economy is expanding and there are more than 800,000 jobs available for workers with the right skill set,” said Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Chairman Bryan Daniel. “Many of these jobs require very short-term training or education but can connect Texans to a lifetime of increased career potential and earnings.”
TWC, the state agency charged with promoting and supporting the state’s workforce, is directing funding for job creation, job preparedness, and job progression activities to help put more Texas workers on a path to a career in a rewarding middle skills job. In September 2021, Commissioners committed over $18 million to ending the middle skills gap. Commission approved initiatives include:
State Level Middle Skills Apprenticeship Programs
TWC will support the creation or expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in key industry areas identified as in especially high demand, including automotive service technicians and mechanics; production machinists, assemblers, and fabricators; and logistics management and supply chain analysts. This initiative will specifically benefit those employers with locations in multiple areas of the state.
Healthcare Apprenticeship Programs
Offers employers an innovative approach to hiring and training future nurses and healthcare staff by expanding opportunities for students who wish to pursue career pathways to RN certification and other healthcare fields. This Statewide Healthcare Registered Apprenticeship Initiative will establish short-term pathways to entry for healthcare professions by expediting application processes and coordinating across multiple workforce areas.
Employer Engagement Grants
Grants are available for employers to offer Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) Services in the workplace or workplace literacy activities with employer-provided training.
Curriculum Development for Construction Trades
TWC will develop and disseminate curricula and other instructional materials for 35 construction trades in integrated education training models, including curricula incorporating essential components of reading instruction for adults.
Pre-Apprenticeship Bridge Program for Building Trades
Grants are available to AEL providers for remediated instruction to Texans entering building trades. Participants will strengthen and practice reading and math skills before transitioning into the first year of a Registered Apprenticeship Program.
Short Term Training for Parents in the Child Care Services Program
TWC is supporting families trying to enter the workforce by providing child care for three months while they train and search for employment, putting them on a track to self-sufficiency.
Texans who take advantage of TWC’s online learning platform through Metrix Learning are eligible to earn industry-recognized certifications. Students have access to all the training content, practice tests, practice labs and test vouchers. There are over 130 industry certification tracks available.
Family Literacy Math Initiative
A family literacy initiative that enhances and develops math supports for Texas families. Adult Education & Literacy (AEL) learners around the state will have access to interactive math instruction conducted via telephone or online applications to support their math skills and their family members’ advancements in math.
Training and Certifications for In Demand and Targeted Occupations
Expanded online learning opportunities and skill development will be available for Texans through an online learning management system. Workers will be able to upskill in occupations for which technological and advanced skills are required. Coursework will help prepare individuals for high-demand and high-growth occupations as well as enhance life skills, or soft skills. This program will provide industry-based certifications, as applicable.
Virtual Reality Career Exploration Pilot
VR headsets and career-exploration software are valuable tools for outreach specialists, providing interactive virtual career-exploration experiences and stimulating students’ interest in local in-demand occupations and middle-skills jobs.
Jobs Y’all and Outreach Initiative
TWC will raise awareness about occupations requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. The awareness campaign will promote occupations and career pathways and direct Texans to the tools and programs available to receive training and/or the certifications to enter those occupations. The campaign will be supported by seasonal direct response initiatives targeting youth with disabilities and foster youth.
Integrated Education and Training in Corrections Initiative
TWC is expanding integrated education and training models for an estimated 500 incarcerated individuals who are within two years of pre-release and provide reentry and post-release services to those individuals.
Career Pathways Mobile Application
TWC’s career pathways application will inform and visualize steps to reach a career goal. Whether beginning a career, making upward progress in a current career, transitioning to a new career, or exploring the various education and training options available across multiple careers, these pathways enable an individual to see and better understand the series of education and training programs and the credentials needed to advance to the next occupation.
Mobile Credential Wallets
Individuals will have access to virtual wallets containing their personal inventory of academic and workforce credentials earned, for example, certifications, licenses, and diplomas. Workers will be able to track credential expiration and renewal dates and receive information about the next credential to pursue while on a career pathway. Each individual will have the ability to share their credentials instantly and securely with various audiences such as employers, workforce training programs, local education agencies and institution of higher education.
A comprehensive library of credentials such as diplomas, certificates, certifications, digital badges, apprenticeships, licenses, and degrees will be developed by TWC in partnership with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Career Coaching Services
One-on-one career coaching provides Texas workers with tangible, immediate support related to job opportunities, credible tools to help them transition, and valuable advice in pursuing their next job.