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Incumbent Worker Training Grants Focus on Layoff Aversion

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | 08:52am
$500,000 Available to Upgrade Skills for Tennessee Workers
NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Commissioner Karla Davis today announced $500,000 in Incumbent Worker Grants is still available to Tennessee employers to avoid layoffs. The grants are designed to assist employers with the expenses associated with skills upgrade training for the company’s employees or process improvement training of the company, thereby keeping the business competitive.
From October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012, $1.1 million is allotted for Incumbent Worker Training. As of January 10, 2012, more than $600,000 has been awarded to 36 companies training 1,703 incumbent workers.
“The Incumbent Worker Training Grants support the governor’s priorities by assisting with training needs of Tennessee companies and their existing workforce,” said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis. “Companies use these training grants to upgrade skills or improve company processes that support a layoff aversion strategy. It is vital that we support our existing businesses to stay competitive and maintain a viable workforce.”
Monogram Refrigeration LLC in Selmer employs 171 workers and has been in business in Tennessee for 24 years. Monogram is a fabrication and assembly plant that manufactures high-end refrigerators for General Electric. The company was awarded an Incumbent Worker Training Grant last year in order to hit performance goals, increase productivity, and stabilize its workforce.
“Through the State of Tennessee Incumbent Worker Training program, Monogram Refrigeration LLC was able to train 35 of its current employees in Lean Manufacturing Principles and apply these principles during a week-long workout to eliminate waste in our manufacturing processes,” said Ray Denning, plant manager for Monogram Refrigeration. “This training will help us be more competitive in this very difficult economy.”
Incumbent Worker Training Grant funds are limited and are therefore awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum award is $25,000 per grant.
Eligible applicants include any Tennessee employer that is a for-profit business in operation for one year or more, has a minimum of five full-time employees, and is financially viable and current on all state and local tax obligations. The grant can cover a variety of training opportunities that are employer or industry specific, including upgrading of technical/computer skills and production practices.
The Incumbent Worker Training Grants are jointly administered by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Tennessee’s Local Workforce Investment Areas (LWIAs). Interested companies can contact their LWIA for available funds at For further information and the Incumbent Worker Training Grant application form go to
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