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Texas Workforce Funding Supports Innovative Academies at High Schools, Industry Partnerships

September 15, 2016

On September 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced $7.2 million in funding for the newly established Texas Industry Cluster Innovative Academies. An element of Gov. Abbott’s Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative established in March 2016, the initiative will provide competitive grant funding to establish Innovative Academies within Texas high schools to provide students with learning opportunities in high-demand occupations while earning college course credit prior to high school graduation. The academies will target specific course work and educational opportunities that lead to direct employment in high-demand occupations for Texas’ key industry clusters:

  • Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing;
  • Aerospace and Defense;
  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences (including Health Care);
  • Energy;
  • Information and Computer Technology; and,
  • Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products.

Grants for the Innovative Academies will be used to develop program models that can be replicated or scaled across other campuses or different regions of the state. Each Innovative Academy must serve as a partnership between a public high school, an institution of higher education, and an industry partner in one of the six high-demand industries.

In August, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) also announced $1 million in funding for a new initiative to “support collaborations between Workforce Solutions partners and private employers or corporate foundations to address skills needs and ensure a talent pipeline to address industry needs.” Through the Texas Industry Partnership, TWC will make matching grants for job-training projects to train new employees or upgrade the skills of existing employees for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) activities in the state’s six key industries.