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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: MILISSA REIERSON
FEBRUARY 11, 2008
(615) 741-2257


PROGRAM TO RETRAIN WORKERS HELPS KEEP JOBS IN TENNESSEE
MORE THAN 11,000 JOBS SAVED THROUGH INCUMBENT WORKER GRANTS

NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley have awarded more than $8.1 million in Incumbent Worker grants to 314 companies across Tennessee since 2003. As a result of those grants, 31,998 workers have been trained, saving jobs and preventing companies from downsizing or moving out of the state.

In his State of the State Address, Bredesen spoke of the importance of taking steps to ensure the Tennessee economy continues to grow.  Commissioner Neeley and the State Workforce Investment Board have set aside $2 million in federal Workforce Investment Act funds for fiscal year 2007-08 to support existing industry training through the Incumbent Worker program.

 “We continue to appropriate money to allow us to offer training to existing Tennessee companies to avoid potential layoffs or relocation,” Bredesen said. “We are also placing special emphasis on job development and retention in our more rural areas.”

Existing businesses and industry are the source of nearly 80 percent of new jobs and capital investment in Tennessee. The Incumbent Worker Training Program provides grant funding for all types of industries, large and small.  The training is very specific, from basic math skills, automated computer programming, and leadership principles to lean manufacturing concepts. 

“Since the beginning, Governor Bredesen has shown a commitment to Tennessee employers," said Commissioner Neeley. "The companies that have received these grants statewide estimate they have saved 11,638 jobs, and in turn created 1,181 new jobs.  It is imperative that we support Tennessee workers and employers.  I am proud to work for a Governor who has honored his promises to keep jobs and create new jobs in Tennessee.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the Incumbent Worker Training program. The program has been structured to be flexible to meet the business's training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training.

To qualify for the program, employers must be operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date, have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.


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