The Smart Jobs Fund is a business
incentive program designed to increase the competitiveness of El Paso in
the global economy. The Smart Jobs Fund provides direct grants to employers
for customized training in occupations that are in manufacturing, emerging
industries, and in demand. The program is "employer driven," which means the
employer determines what training is needed for their work force, so long as they
meet the requirements set forth by the State Legislature. These requirements
include certain salary levels, an employer match, and a workers retention period
of three months after the training projects is completed.
All employers that have been in business
for at least one year are eligible. At least 60 percent of the funds must go to
existing Texas businesses, and up to 40 percent to businesses new to the state
of Texas. All businesses must demonstrate financial soundness and fulfillment
of state tax obligations.
Fifty percent of Smart Jobs Funds are
targeted to small business; 20 percent are targeted to minority businesses.
In addition, businesses in rural areas and in Enterprise Zones receive special
priority. Consortiums with two or more employers applying together under a
common training plan will also receive priority.
The application is designed to be simple
so that any employer can easily apply for training funds. The application asks each
employer to provide a business and training plan that details product and service
outcome goals for the company and that shows how the customized training will enable
those outcomes. The employer specifies the number and types of jobs for which training
will be provided, along with who the training provider will be and a description of
the training materials.
Applications are reviewed and scored on the
basis of a fair and objective point system. The criteria are priorities established
by the Legislature, including those outlined above. All applications will be reviewed
within 10 working days. If the application is incomplete, the employer will be
notified with the specific information needed. Once the application is complete, a
funding recommendation will be made within 30 additional working days.
Call the City of El Paso at (915)533-4284
for a complete Smart Jobs application packet and additional information.