Spotlight on State Policy: Green Jobs Training Bills in Texas

Authors: Vien Truong

Vien Truong is a Senior Policy Associate at Green For All, working on State Policy. Recently she helped to introduce green jobs legislation in Texas and New Mexico. Policy Intern Giselle Vigneron also contributed to this post.

This month, lawmakers introduced two Green Jobs training bills in the Texas legislature. Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Mark Strama have each introduced a bill, SB 108 and HB 516 respectively, that would create the Green Job Skills Development Fund and Training Program. These mirror bills would fund a green jobs training grant program to promote job opportunities in green industries, develop a highly skilled workforce, and assist workers in need of education and training to find green jobs.

Green For All worked closely with both Senator Ellis and Representative Strama to develop the green jobs bills and help ensure that historically disenfranchised communities will have access to meaningful green collar jobs training. We encourage Texans to call their state policymakers and encourage them to support green collar jobs.

More Details on the Bills
These bills establish the Texas Green Job Skills Development Fund (the “Fund”). The Texas Workforce Commission (the “Commission”) is required to use the Fund to create the Green Job Skills Grant Program (the “Program”). The Commission shall adopt rules to establish the Program and may award three-year grants to regional partnerships to provide green jobs training programs. These training programs must target specific populations, such as workers in high-demand green industries, workers in declining industries, veterans, unemployed workers, or disadvantaged individuals.

Each regional partnership must include representatives of the following three sectors: a) higher educational institutions or technical schools, b) local workforce agencies or local employers, and 3) an economic development authority. To get a grant, the applicant must explain how it plans to continue the training program after the grant expires. In awarding these grants, the Commission will give preference to those programs that provide certification to its trainees. Certification is especially important to link trainees with future job opportunities, particularly in wind energy where Texas has become a national leader.

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