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MARCH 1, 2005
(615) 741-2257 (O)
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West Tennessee Company Awarded
$44,700 in Job Training Grant
Behlen Manufacturing Co. to Receive Grant to Train 140 Employees

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley has awarded $44,700 to Behlen Country in Huntingdon, Tennessee. Behlen Country, a business unit of Behlen Manufacturing Co. which manufactures livestock equipment, is one of several companies across the state that has applied for the Incumbent Worker Training grant.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) 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

"Behlen Country has met comprehensive criteria to qualify for this grant. I am proud to award this grant money to keep more West Tennessee workers on the job,” said Commissioner Neeley. “The Incumbent Worker Training Program provides grant funding for customized training for existing for-profit businesses. Through this customer-driven program, Tennessee is able to effectively retain and keep businesses competitive through the upgrading of skills training for existing full-time employees."

Behlen Country’s Huntingdon plant manager, Stuart Daffron, said, “ We are so excited about receiving the training grant.  Our business has become very competitive over the years. When some of our competitors pay their employees in piece rate and do not furnish employee benefits, it's extremely difficult to compete,” Daffron continued.  “With this grant we will be able to upgrade our employee skill level that will allow us to work smarter and control our costs.”

The Southwest Tennessee Human Resource Agency, the West Tennessee local workforce board and the TDLWD worked together as a team to award the grant to Behlen.

The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least one full-time employee, 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. More Tennessee companies will be receiving incumbent worker grants in the coming months, totaling more than $500,000.

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