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DECEMBER 16, 2005
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Governor Awards Knoxville Companies Job Training Grants

NASHVILLEGovernor Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley have awarded a total of $134,421 to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Uster Technologies, Inc., M & W Drilling LLC, O’Neal Steel, Inc., Reily Foods Company-JFG Coffee, and Consolidated Products, Inc. These Incumbent Worker Training Grants are six of many to be awarded to help Tennessee companies avoid downsizing and keep jobs in the state. Close to $1 million in Incumbent Worker Training Grants was awarded in fiscal year 2004-2005 benefiting more than 3000 Tennessee workers.

“The Incumbent Worker Training Grants are essential to help Tennessee’s workers look to the future with job growth and stability,” said Governor Bredesen. “These six companies are major employers in the area. This grant will help keep them competitive and increase the skills of their talented employees.”

"The Incumbent Worker Training Program provides grant funding for customized training for existing businesses," said Commissioner Neeley. "These companies in Knoxville have met comprehensive criteria to qualify for these grants. I am proud to award this grant money to keep area workers on the job."

“Governor Bredesen and Commissioner Neeley are working hard to keep Knox County workers on the job,” said Senator Tim Burchett. “These grants are essential to the area and our economy.”

“The Incumbent Worker grants are a wonderful tool for companies to train their workers in the latest technology and production skills,” said Representative Joe Armstrong.

“These grants show a true commitment to the Knox County community,” said Representative Harry Tindell. “I hope more workers and companies benefit from these grants in the future.”

“It is important to provide these grants to Knox County companies and workers,” said Representative Bill Dunn.

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.

The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must 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.

The Knox County Community Action Committee also contributed in awarding the grants to the six companies. For a complete list of the companies and grant amounts please see the list below.

  • The Knoxville News Sentenel $39,064.00
  • Uster Technologies, Inc. $30,817.00
  • M & W Drilling LLC $27,340.00
  • O’Neal Steel, Inc. $25,000.00
  • Reily Foods Co. JFG Coffee $ 9,600.00
  • Consolidated Products, Inc. $ 2,600.00

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