Higher education institutions across Texas have received $15 million for the creation, expansion and redesign of short-term vocational programs. The funds come from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which helps Texans obtain a postsecondary education.

The funding was provided by the Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education grant program, according to a July 13 news release. The TRUE program supports workforce education for high-demand fields.

Programs supported by the grant will be less than six months long and hosted by community or state technical colleges. Local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and trade associations were also eligible for funds if they partnered with community and technical colleges, according to the TRUE website.

The workforce development programs are designed with the help of local employers, workforce boards, trade associations and more. This will ideally help remove barriers to employment, the release said.

TRUE is part of Building a Talent Strong Texas, the state’s higher education plan. The plan consists of three main elements: attainment of postsecondary credentials; postsecondary credentials of value; and research, development and innovation.

The plan aims to ensure that 60% of working-age Texans ages 25-64 receive a degree, certificate or other credential by 2030. Ninety-five percent of these graduates, the plan states, will graduate with little to no student debt.

Grants were awarded to 29 educational institutions, consortiums and economic development organizations throughout Texas. To be eligible, consortiums must be partnerships of at least three community or technical colleges, according to the website.

TRUE was established by Texas lawmakers in 2021 and is funded by the Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund, according to Section 18 of Senate Bill 8.

A full list of the grant winners can be found in the news release.