Press Releases

Davis Picked to Direct Labor Department

Press Release from Bill Haslam, Gov.-elect of the State of Tennessee, Jan. 14, 2011:

Memphian’s Career Shows Hands-On Experience with Workforce Issues

NASHVILLE– Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Haslam named Karla Davis as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Since 2006, Davis has been Director of Urban Strategies Memphis Hope, managing and overseeing the Community and Supportive Services Program for three U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE VI public housing redevelopment projects and two HUD ROSS Grant projects in Memphis.

Davis previously worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 16 years, rising to become an Environmental Justice program manager covering six states. As program manager at the EPA, she focused on environmental and human health improvements and community revitalization in distressed urban areas.

“Karla Davis brings an outstanding record of accomplishment and management skill to the Cabinet, and I’m looking forward to working with her to help Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “Her focus on helping to revive communities and families shows her commitment to making our state a better place, and I’m honored she is a part of the team.”

Davis is Chair of the Tennessee Local Workforce Investment Area 13 Youth Council and a member of the Memphis City Beautiful Commission and Shelby County Families First Advisory Council. For the last three years, she has been a member of the Annual Grants Committee for the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and she’s a member of Leadership Memphis’s Class of 2009.

“I’m honored to accept this appointment, and I’m thrilled to serve Tennesseans,” Davis said. “I look forward to working with the great staff at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Many challenges face our state and our workforce, and I know we can work together to affect positive change in Tennessee.”

Davis has a bachelor’s in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She and her husband, Terence, reside in Memphis, Tenn.

Press Releases

TN Oct. Unemployment: 9.4 Percent (Same as Sept.)

State of Tennessee Press Release, Nov 18, 2010:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley announced today Tennessee’s unemployment rate for October was 9.4 percent, unchanged from the September rate. The national unemployment rate for October 2010 was 9.6 percent, unchanged from the September rate.

“For the second month in a row Tennessee has an unemployment rate lower than the national average,” said Labor Commissioner James Neeley. “Job increases are becoming much more diverse across industries with most private sector industries showing job growth in the past year.”

Major Changes in Estimated Nonagricultural Employment

September 2010 to October 2010

According to the Business Survey, trade, transportation, and utilities increased by 3,700 jobs; professional & business services increased by 3,300 jobs; and local government educational services increased by 2,500 jobs. Major employment decreases occurred in leisure and hospitality, down by 3,900; nondurable goods manufacturing declined by 1,300; and Federal government declined by 600 jobs.

Major Changes in Estimated Nonagricultural Employment

October 2009 to October 2010

Year-over-year increases occurred in professional & business services, up by 10,700; trade, transportation, & utilities gained 8,700; and educational & health services were up by 8,700. Year-over-year decreases occurred in government, down by 3,400; information lost 2,900; and finance & insurance decreased by 2,500.

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: