Skills for Small Business makes huge impact

Employees sitting around a table in a meeting looking at analytical graphs on a tablet computer

Coordinating training for a small business can be very challenging. When Tom’s Mechanical in Arlington needed to train 14 employees on Excel, they turned to the Texas Workforce Commission’s Skills for Small Business program. The Skills for Small Business program provides businesses with fewer than 100 employees, state-funded training to meet their business needs with an emphasis on training new workers or upgrading skills of incumbent workers.

Tom’s Mechanical CEO Rich Ashton learned of the program at a networking luncheon and worked with the Tarrant County College District (TCCD) to address his business needs.

“The application process could not have been easier. I provided basic information and TCCD did all the work,” said Ashton. “We were stunned when our application was approved almost immediately.” TCCD set up laptops at Tom’s Mechanical and conducted two-hour classes in small groups over a course of several days until all 14 employees completed the eight-hour training class.

Ashton says Tom’s Mechanical was very pleased with the program and looks forward to additional training. Ashton has also recommended the program to other small business owners.

“Training is expensive and often inflexible,” said Ashton. “To receive quality training at our site and on our schedule at no cost was an opportunity simply too good to pass up.” TCCD Corporate Solutions and Economic Development Director Jennifer Hawkins says that businesses are often referred by current small business program customers. Hawkins often observes the huge impact through the small business program.

“Skills training is provided to employees who otherwise might not get it due to budgetary demands on the businesses,” said Hawkins. “The employers are coming back and asking for more funds and more classes due to the value they received for their businesses.” Hawkins encourages small businesses that are hesitant to apply, to consider this program for their training needs.

“Applying is simple, quick, and the training schedule is built around the company’s preferences,” said Hawkins. “We are very flexible with the courses we offer and the times/days we offer them are either at the company site or at one of our locations.” Startups interested in training for their employees may be eligible for up to $1,800 in training for new workers and $900 for existing workers. Since the program’s inception in 2010, the grants have awarded $5.7 million to meet training needs at small businesses.

How can my business apply for a Texas grant?

Small businesses are encouraged to apply directly to TWC for training approval. Employers seeking more information about the program, including applications and information about how to apply may visit the TWC website at