Texas Workforce Commission Approves One-Time Innovative Grant Programs Using Funding from IKEA

Date: December 16, 2020

Media Contact: James Bernsen
Phone: 512-636-6994

Funding includes Restaurant Recovery Provision to Assist Those Businesses in Opening Safely

AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) this week approved a series of innovative one-time and pilot programs funded through a generous donation of $4.9 million from IKEA. The programs will equip and enable individuals with information and tools to advance in their career though educational resources and programs including apprenticeship, online learning platforms, grants and real-time labor market and job information. Texas businesses will also be supported through industry data analytics, online training videos, and tools to help adapt jobs to remote and contactless operations.

“These funds allow us to implement some very innovative programs to help build our Texas workforce and support businesses,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel.  “These one-time and pilot programs will directly help Texans, but they can also help us better develop future TWC programs.”

Among the projects that will assist workers is a pre-apprenticeship program, designed to better prepare individuals for the state’s existing registered apprenticeship program. It will also fund consumable resources for that program and several jobs programs Jobs and Education for Texans (JET). MyTXCareers.com job portal is another tool that will enhance access to allow jobseekers who otherwise might not use Workforce Solutions or TWC program services, to find jobs quickly with an abbreviated registration process and other online learning opportunities and services.  

“These funds can make our existing programs stronger and better,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “We’ve seen what registered apprenticeship and JET programs can do towards building a skilled workforce that is second to none. Enhancing those programs means more Texans, particularly younger Texans, are going to have access to good-paying skilled trades.”

Several programs will also benefit Texas businesses, including a Texas-specific retail survey, retail data analysis for the state’s workforce development boards and a program to help adapt jobs to telecommute positions as well as transitioning to remote and contactless operations. This will allow employees to continue contributing to the employer’s mission while also supporting their families and our state’s economy.

The commission also approved the development of a series of training videos for retail and restaurant employers to help them adapt as well. The training videos will help businesses to ramp up to return to operations or shift existing operations to remain in compliance with safety protocols. They will also address changing consumer behaviors and ways to adapt to those.

“As one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic, restaurants are working to train their current labor force, hire and re-hire employees and remain open,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “They are also having to adapt to new business models.  For example, many have to retrofit their business for carry out, curbside and delivery and we want to provide resources to give them the best opportunities to succeed.  If we can help them stay open safely, then that will assist them in both keeping their employees and driving our Texas economy.”

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The Texas Workforce Commission is a state agency dedicated to helping Texas employers, workers and communities prosper economically. For details on TWC and the services it offers in coordination with its network of local workforce development boards, call 512-463-8942 or visit www.texasworkforce.org. To receive notifications about TWC programs and services subscribe to our email updates.

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