The state of Texas and the federal government provide funding for displaced workers to obtain gainful employment through scholarships, grants and financial aid to retrain for a new career. A displaced worker is someone who has been laid off or experienced a decrease in income. Many programs require displaced workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits to receive financial aid.
Workforce Investment Act Program
The Texas Workforce Commission administers the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) for unemployed Texas residents. Workers who have been laid off can get financial aid to pay for training courses for a career that is in demand. The worker must have been laid off or terminated from employment through no fault of his own to get help. WIA services also includes free career counseling, job referrals and resume consultation. These services are provided at one of the Workforce Solutions offices located across the state.
Trade School Programs
Trade schools have special financing programs for displaced workers. The Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas, has a tuition reduction program for displaced workers. Workers who meet the school's admission requirements and have lost their jobs due to downsizing are eligible to apply a 20 percent discount to their tuition.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry was awarded a $5 million grant to provide a paid apprenticeship program for displaced workers in Texas. The program prepares unemployed or underemployed workers for a career in energy-efficient building construction, retrofitting and manufacturing.
College Scholarships and Programs
Lee College in Baytown, Texas, awards High Growth Energy Grant scholarships to displaced workers who want to improve jobs skills or make a career change. To qualify for the scholarship, the student must be enrolled in one of the approved technology courses. Texas A&M University-Commerce's Educational Opportunity Center helps displaced or underemployed workers from low-income families select the best college for their career choice and locate financial aid to help pay for tuition expenses. The federal TRiO grant program provides funding for Educational Opportunity Centers.
Trade Adjustment Assistance
The Texas Workforce Commission also administers the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to help workers who have been laid off due to foreign imports or job shifts to a foreign country. The unemployed worker can get help with re-employment services, training and a job search. The worker must have been laid off from a job that is covered under a U.S. Department of Labor-certified trade. These displaced workers are also eligible to receive a Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) income. The weekly TRA can be claimed after all unemployment benefits have been exhausted.