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Texas Workforce Commission will use $4.9 million donation to cover restaurant worker certifications

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Food Handler and TABC certifications are necessary headaches for Texas restaurant employees, and the Texas Workforce Commission plans to ease the financial burden of obtaining those licenses.

Thanks to a $4.9 million donation from Swedish furniture giant IKEA, the commission will purchase the necessary credentials the state requires of foodservice employees, making them free for workers. Each of the two certifications usually runs about $15.

Theoretically, the move should make it easier for folks to obtain work as the industry tries to get back on its feet.

"As one of the hardest hit industries by the pandemic, restaurants are working to train their current labor force, hire and re-hire employees and remain open," TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Aaron Demerson said in a release. "If we can help them stay open safely, then that will assist them in keeping their employees, growing and rehiring new workers, and driving the recovery of our Texas economy.”

Part of IKEA's monetary injection will also fund online training videos for restaurant owners resuming operation after a pandemic-forced shutdown or retooling their businesses to comply with safety protocols.

Of the total donation, $500,000 is set aside to purchase ServSafe Food Handler and TABC To Go training and certifications to ensure more than 200,000 prospective employees will have the needed credentials to return to work.

The Current contacted TWC for a timeline on the training and additional details but didn't receive a reply by press time.

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