H.B. 1528
By: Oliveira
Committee Report (Amended)


The Smart Jobs program was created during the 73rd Legislature as an
employer-driven approach to supporting the expansion and relocation of
business in Texas.  Smart Jobs awards direct grants to businesses that
train workers for jobs that exist or will exist with the businesses. The
program was designed to achieve these goals while targeting small and
minority businesses, businesses in rural areas  in Enterprise Zones, and
consortiums with two or more employers applying together. 

After operating for 3 1/2 years, it has become necessary to make changes
to improve the program and to allow for its continued creation of jobs and
expansion of business in Texas. 


This bill makes changes in the criteria that determine which businesses
are qualified to receive smart jobs funding; modifies criteria for jobs
produced by the program; recalculates the amount available for
administrative costs; and modifies performance standards for the program.


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any 
additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 481.151 of the Government Code. Defines
"emerging occupation" as caused by demands in the workplace resulting from
technological changes that can not be addressed by existing workers
without additional training.   
Makes conforming changes in the definition of "existing employer."  
Defines "manufacturing occupation" as an occupation that is involved with
transforming materials or substances into new products through mechanical
or chemical means. 
Adds "women" to the definition of "minority group members."
Defines "small business" using definitions from Section 481.101.
Makes conforming changes to the definition of "state average weekly wage,"
and renumbers subsequent subsections. 

SECTION 2.  Amends 481.154 (a) of the Government Code to make a conforming
change. Amends Subsection (c) so that the amount of money  the program
uses from the fund for administration, marketing expenses, and evaluation
of the program may not exceed five percent of the total amount
appropriated for the program in a fiscal year. Amends subsection (d) to
make conforming change. 

 SECTION 3.  Amends Section 481.155 (c),Government Code, to receive a
grant under this section, an employer must certify that the wage for a job
that exists on the date the program is  scheduled to begin must be
increased  to the greater of  (1) three percent for a small business or
five percent for a business that is not a small business over the state
average weekly wage or  (2) is 75 percent of the state  average weekly
wage.  Subsection (d) is amended so that an employer may apply for a grant
and request a modification of the  requirements in Subsection (c) if:
substantial changes in the skills required in the employer's business are
caused by technological changes, the executive director determines that
other reasonable factors exist. Makes conforming changes and renumbers
subsequent subsections.   

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 481.156 (a) of the Government Code. (1) Adds
"emerging occupations,"  and "manufacturing occupations" to the list of
occupations for which employers may apply for grants. 

SECTION 5. Amends Section 481.159 (c) of the Government Code.  Twenty-five
percent of the allowable expenditures shall be withheld by the department
for 90 days after the contract is completed.  If at least 85 percent of
the trainees in the contract remain in employment during this time and
meet the requirements for skills, wages, and other obligations, the amount
of allowable expenditures withheld shall be remitted to the employer. 

SECTION 6.  Amends Section 481.160 (b) of the Government Code, by removing
the requirement that the annual report include the wage levels of trainees
three years after the training is concluded. 

SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997.

SECTION 8.  Emergency clause.


AMENDMENT #1  This amendment adds language to specify that it is the
intent of the legislature that smart jobs money be spent in all areas of
the state, the total amount a company can receive through a grant or a
combination of grants is capped at $1,000,000 or at a rate not greater
than $1,500 per new or existing job, the standard of new wages is changed
from "greater than 66 2/3 percent of the state average weekly wage" to
"equal to or greater than the prevailing wage for that occupation in the
local labor market", and the wages for existing jobs increase by the
greater of (a) three percent  for a small business or five percent for a
business that is not a small business or (b) 100 percent of the prevailing
wage for that occupation in the local labor market. 

AMENDMENT #2  Adds a definition of "micro-business," and allows a
micro-business to request a modification of the wage requirements and the
requirement concerning the number of trainees that may leave employment
during training.  The Texas Department of Commerce believes that the
change will help micro-businesses access Smart Jobs money.