The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has rolled out an invitation for employers to apply for the Texas Industry Recognized Apprenticeship grant program (TIRA), which is set to disburse nearly $10 million to eligible private-sector employers in the state. This funding initiative, requested by TWC and approved by the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott, aims to address industrial workforce needs arising from natural disasters and shortages.
In a press release, TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel emphasized the impact of apprenticeships in addressing critical skills gaps within Texas’ growing economy. The TIRA grant program, distinct from the federally funded registered Apprenticeship program, is expected to enhance the state’s workforce, cater to employer needs, and reinforce Texas’ standing as the premier state for business.
Key Highlights of the TIRA Grant Program:
- Texas-Funded Initiative: The TIRA program is exclusively funded by the state of Texas, distinguishing it from the federally funded registered Apprenticeship program.
- Highly Skilled Trades: TIRA aims to provide Texans with opportunities to learn highly skilled trades in industries where demand is high and opportunities are abundant.
- Occupations Covered: TWC will accept applications for 25 occupations, spanning diverse sectors such as healthcare, construction, transportation, and more.
List of Occupations Eligible for TIRA Funding:
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
- Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
- Heavy and Tractor -Trailer Truck Drivers
- Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
- Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists
- Radiologic Technologists and Technicians
- Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Technicians
- Accountants and Auditors
- Dental Assistants
- Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
- Respiratory Therapists
- Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- General and Operations Managers
- Secondary School Teachers, Except for Special and Career/Technical Education
- Physical Therapist Assistants
- Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
- Eligibility Criteria: Employers seeking TIRA funding must have an apprenticeship training model meeting specified criteria. The proposed training models should integrate full-time paid work with classroom-related training, advancing participants to credentialed, performance-verified mid-level status in one of the targeted occupations.
- Application Deadline: Interested employers are encouraged to submit their applications by June 1 to secure funding for the state fiscal year 2024. Awards will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, although applications will be accepted throughout the year.
- Application Process: To apply, employers must complete the TIRA Application Funding form and submit it via email to TWC at [email protected].
The launch of the TIRA grant program underscores the commitment of Texas to foster skill development, address workforce shortages, and bolster the state’s economic resilience. By providing financial support to employers investing in apprenticeship training, the program aligns with the broader goal of nurturing a highly skilled and adaptable workforce, contributing to the sustained growth of industries across Texas. As the TWC invites employers to partake in this initiative, the focus remains on cultivating a robust workforce equipped to meet the evolving demands of the state’s diverse sectors.