Governor Abbott Announces Initiative To Establish Innovative Academies In Texas High Schools

September 2, 2016 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott today announced the launch of the Texas Industry Cluster Innovative Academies as part of his Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative established in March 2016. The initiative, created to address the Governor's goal of meeting local workforce needs, will provide competitive grant funding to establish Innovative Academies within Texas high schools to provide students with learning opportunities in high demand occupations while earning college course credit prior to high school graduation. The grant program will promote, engage and expand the development of partnerships between regional employers, independent school districts, community colleges, universities, local workforce boards and local industry.

“Preparing the next generation of Texans to enter the workforce is paramount to ensuring that both employees and businesses continue to thrive in the Lone Star State,” said Governor Abbott. “With these Innovative Academies, Texas will lead the way in forging partnerships across a variety of industries and educational institutions to find the most effective solutions to the challenges we face in the 21st century economy.”

Grants for the Innovative Academies will be used to develop program models that can be replicated or scaled across other campuses or different regions of the state. Each Innovative Academy must serve as a partnership between a public high school, an institution of higher education, and a high-demand industry partner. A combined total of $7.2 million in grants from the Texas Workforce Commission, the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will be offered for the Innovative Academies.

The academies will target specific course work and educational opportunities that lead to direct employment in high-demand occupations for the following industry clusters:

  • Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences (including Health Care)
  • Energy
  • Information and Computer Technology
  • Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products

The Texas Education Agency will award funding to Innovative Academy proposals through a Request for Application (RFA) process. Applicants can submit grant proposals here.