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Goodyear Workers Gain Traction in Workforce as they Complete Training

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | 05:09am


NASHVILLE – Laid-off Goodyear Tire and Rubber employees are making their way back into the workforce two years after redirecting their careers with training available through the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development (TDLWD).

Twenty-two of 23 enrollees in a Registered Nurse training class purchased with Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) funds specifically for former Goodyear workers have completed classes at Dyersburg State Community College and are preparing to enter the workplace as RNs.

“Within two years these graduates transitioned from work in manufacturing to learning skills in the health care field, becoming job ready and aligned to work upon graduation,” said Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips. “The RN training package for Goodyear is a fine example of what the department can do for workers adversely affected by foreign trade. We work with local communities to identify the skills that employers are looking to fill, then explore area training available to meet those demands.”

David Thomas, a student in the RN training who will start work at Jackson Madison County General Hospital later this month, had supervised 25 people in the tire press room for the past 12 years at the time Goodyear shut down. He decided it was time to get out of manufacturing and thought the medical field seemed the most stable.

“Tests I took at the Tennessee Career Center showed a match for health care, reinforcing my interest in RN training,” said Thomas. “I found the clinical rotations inspiring and that I was really enjoying the work.”

Goodyear employees were certified as TAA-eligible, meaning the workers lost their jobs through no fault of their own and their lack of employment or income was due to foreign trade. TAA benefits, in addition to training, include re-employment services, job search and relocation allowances, and income support in the form of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) that provide unemployment insurance benefits while in training.

The closing of Goodyear in Union City in 2011 affected approximately 2,000 workers. Around 850 of those workers took advantage of training offered. In addition to RN, classes funded were EMT, paramedic, welding, industrial maintenance, truck driving, and HVAC training.

The TDLWD also facilitated the award of a $3.5 million Dual Enrollment National Emergency Grant for Goodyear to provide assessments, transportation stipends, workshops, case management, and other career services. The funds were also used to establish a specialized Career Center that housed many of the Trade training programs.

To obtain TAA reemployment services and benefits, a TAA petition must first be filed requesting certification as workers adversely affected by foreign trade and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. A petition may be filed by the employer, a group of three workers, a union representative, or a state workforce agency.

If you have questions concerning Trade Adjustment Assistance call 615-253-6668 or visit


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NOTE: Pictures of graduating class available upon request.

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