Press release from the Tennessee Senate Democratic Caucus; May 29, 2012:
NASHVILLE — State Senator Andy Berke and State Representative Craig Fitzhugh participated in the signing of their Tennessee Works Act of 2012 with Governor Bill Haslam at War Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday.
“When we work together at the Capitol, we can help put Tennessee back to work,” Berke said. “Business owners across Tennessee have told us about the need for more job training opportunities, and this act moves people from the unemployment rolls to the work rolls.”
The Tennessee Works Act of 2012, modeled after successful programs in Georgia and New Jersey, is expected to save Tennesseans $900,000 in unemployment insurance payments. The bill, which creates an eight-week training program for displaced workers, will initially operate as a pilot program administered by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and funded with federal grants.
Some of the workers trained under the program will be hired into full-time positions, moving them off unemployment and getting them back in the workplace.
“The great thing about this program is that it actually requires people to work toward a new skill in order to receive their benefits,” Fitzhugh said. “That’s what unemployment is meant to be: a hand up, not a handout. This program will get Tennesseans back to work.”