NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley has awarded $50,000 to Sara Lee in Newbern, Tennessee. Sara Lee Foods, a world-class, branded food company, employs more than 10,000 people throughout North America and Europe and has 950 employees in its Newbern facility. Sara Lee 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
"Sara Lee 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."
“We are pleased to participate in such a meaningful program,” said Eugene Smith, general manager of the Sara Lee Foods facility in Newbern. “Our participation in the Incumbent Worker Training program will significantly increase our ability to invest in our most valuable resource — our employees.”
Dyersburg State Community College, the Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board, and the TDLWD worked together as a team to award the grant to Sara Lee.
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 $1 million.