February 27, 2023

Workforce Resource Spotlight: Skills Development Fund

Earlier this month on February 8, Ryan Sanders Sports Services (RS3) was awarded a $245,730 Skills Development Fund (SDF) by Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area (WSRCA). This grant was awarded to RS3 in order to enhance RS3’s sports and entertainment operations, including the Round Rock Express (Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers), RS3 Turf, and RS3 Strategic Hospitality, based in Round Rock, TX. A total of 118 workers in various occupations will train in subjects ranging from food safety and heavy equipment operation to Disney-based customer service strategies and sports-oriented project management. The Skills Development Fund (SDF) is a great tool available for Texas employers, and below is a summary of the program and process.

What is the Skills Development Fund and Who Implements the Program?

SDF is a job-training program that provides training opportunities for Texas businesses and workers. The program assists businesses and trade-unions by financing the design and implementation of customized job-training projects.

TWC implements the program, but numerous key partners are also involved. TWC is the state agency charged with overseeing and providing workforce development services to employers and job seekers of Texas. Among the numerous resources that TWC offers for both job seekers and employers, TWC oversees training grants for employers, which includes the SDF.

What Is the Process?

Generally, the process first starts with a private business, business consortium, or trade union that is interested in training new employees or upskilling existing employees in their organization. In order to qualify for the grant, the eligible business entity has to partner with an eligible grant applicant which is one of the following entities:

  • Public community colleges;
  • Public technical colleges;
  • The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX);
  • Local Workforce Development Boards (Boards); or
  • A community-based organization (CBO) only in partnership with the public community college or technical college or TEEX.

Once the partnership is established, the business entity and the eligible grant applicant work together to submit proposals, develop curricula, and conduct training. If the application is approved by TWC, the SDF pays for the training, the eligible applicant administers the grant, and businesses create new jobs and improve the skills of their current workers.

What is the Benefit?

In general, the average cost target for an SDF trainee is approximately $2,000, although the actual cost may be higher or lower than this amount based on the training criteria. The grant can fund tuition, curriculum development, instructor fees, and training materials. Grants that assist a single business can be awarded up to $500,000 depending on the application. The standard length of time for an SDF contract is 12 months.

Additionally, thanks to the number of strong public community college and technical colleges in the Round Rock area, as well as a strong local workforce board such as WSRCA, there are a number of resources that your business can utilize in order to potentially qualify for this state resource.

Where Can I Find More Information?

For more information visit the following websites:

Texas Workforce Commission

Workforce Solutions Rural Capital Area

RS3’s Skills Development Fund

If you would like to discuss your training needs and would like to talk through how to be connected to this resource and others, please contact Zach Scott, Director of Workforce and Industry Development at zscott@roundrockchamber.org.

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