Press Releases

Dept. of Labor Training Grants Focus on Avoiding Layoffs

Press Release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development; Jan. 11, 2012:


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

Press Releases

State-Funded ‘Incumbent Worker’ Grants Awarded

State of Tennessee Press Release, Nov 10, 2010:

26 Companies Awarded Grants Training 1,720 Employees

NASHVILLE– Governor Phil Bredesen and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley have awarded $510,751 in job training grants to 26 companies across the state. Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills and avoiding layoffs for their employees.

“Job training to upgrade the skills of Tennessee’s workers is one of the best things we can do for our economy,” said Governor Bredesen. “Now more than ever, it is important to continue training our workforce to keep employees and companies competitive.”

“The Incumbent Worker Grants help companies invest in the future of their workers,” said Commissioner Neeley. “Over the past five years, training grants have totaled more than $15 million to assist more than 49,000 employees.”

The Incumbent Worker 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. The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, 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.

The Incumbent Worker Training Program is funded by the Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and administered by the Workforce Development division within the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Local Workforce Investment Area (LWIA contact), and the local career center.

Follow the link below for a list of companies receiving Incumbent Worker Training Grant: