Rule suspension will allow apprenticeships and Skills Development Fund grants to benefit public sector employers
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – On May 31, 2022, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) voted to suspend multiple program rules that only allowed private sector apprenticeships and limited Skills Development Fund grants to private industry, citing public necessity with a critical shortage of healthcare workers. These changes will permit the agency to provide funds to train apprentices and other employees in public sector healthcare occupations previously exempted from participation.
“This is another vital step in bridging the middle skills gap,” said TWC Chairman Bryan Daniel. “Lifting these restrictions permits training funds to be used for specific public sector healthcare employers, many who serve smaller communities and rural Texas.”
Along with the rest of the country, Texas faces a critical shortage of registered nurses. According to a TWC Labor Market analysis, there is a current gap of approximately 20,000 Registered Nurses in Texas.
At the same time, demand for all healthcare occupations is expected to grow at a much faster rate than all occupations combined. The most recent projections indicate employment in Healthcare Occupations will grow 18.4 percent by 2028, adding more than 190,000 new jobs. This growth will account for more than 11 percent of the overall expected growth in Texas.
In February 2022, the Commission approved the Statewide Healthcare Registered Apprenticeship Initiative, establishing short-term pathways to entry for healthcare professions. The initiative expedites the application processes, working directly with private and public healthcare employers and coordinating across multiple workforce areas.
With this latest Commission action, apprentices in healthcare occupations employed by public sector healthcare employers may be included within the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Apprenticeship Training Program.
“Addressing the growing shortage of nurses in Texas continues to be my main focal point. I’ve been hosting stakeholder meetings with education partners, the Texas Nursing Board, and healthcare partners to address this issue,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “This agency action is another way to address the urgent need to train more healthcare workers.”
The Skills Development Fund (SDF) is the state’s premier workforce training program to help businesses upskill their new or incumbent workforce. The Commission’s action authorizes the suspension of portions of the SDF’s rules to allow training grants that would benefit public sector healthcare employers. This action makes up to $5 million available in FY 2022-2023 to support the training of healthcare occupations for these employers.
“Having highly trained professionals is paramount to the success of Texas employers in the Lone Star State,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson. “This action will help both the public and private sectors by ensuring trained healthcare workers are available to our state’s workforce.”
Visit TWC’s Apprenticeship Program website to learn more about the paid, on-the-job training apprenticeship provides for Texas workers and employers. To see how TWC training grants help employers, big and small, visit the Skills Development Fund website.