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Texas has the second ranked economy in the country based on GDP. Almost 30 million people live in Texas. They are the beating heart of that economy. Yet, there is a difference in performance between the rural and urban areas of the state.

Government agencies classify counties with less than 200,000 and municipalities with a population under 25,000 as "rural." 90 percent of Texas cities and 229 counties meet the definition of rural. That means that 23 percent of the population (about 7 million people) live in rural Texas. 

The Commission has allocated $1 million in WIOA Statewide Funds to address these challenges. Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards) will use the funds to create training programs in their communities. 

This initiative aims to establish and fund Training Labs. These Labs are designed as turnkey training opportunities for rural jobseekers. They are created in partnership with local governments, community colleges, and other training providers. The aim is to create training programs that fit the needs of rural communities.

Creating a Rural Training Lab

Boards may apply for up to $250,000 to create a rural training lab using the application linked below. Each lab will be a collaborative effort between: 

  • Boards; 
  • local community partners (either municipal or county government entities); and 
  • training partners.

Boards will have from March 1, 2024, to May 31, 2024, to submit applications for training labs. All submissions must go to Boards should expect an acknowledgement of their application shortly after submission. Boards will receive a grant within 60 days of approval if the application is successful. Successful applicants will be funded for a period of 18 months.

Boards must submit applications using the fillable PDF Application link included below. Detailed instructions on partner requirements and program components are included in the application.