Press Releases

Two Anderson Co. Companies Awarded Job Training Grants

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; March 5, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis have awarded $29,947 to Protomet Corporation in Oak Ridge and $25,000 to Techmer PM in Clinton.

“If Tennessee is going to become the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, then we must offer a well-trained workforce to employers,” said Governor Haslam. “This kind of training grant not only helps educate workers, but also provides incentive to employers looking to relocate or expand in Tennessee.”

“Both job creation and retention are vital in maintaining a healthy economy in Tennessee, and the Incumbent Worker Training program has played a key role in accomplishing this,” said Commissioner Davis. “Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 600 businesses by providing $14 million to train approximately 50,000 employees.”

In their application for the grant, Protomet Corporation stated this grant would allow the company to balance capital expenditures with process and organizational improvements to keep cost low and compete in theglobal economy allowing the business to grow and retain employees.

In their application for the grant, Techmer PM stated this grant would develop the skills that will allow the team to identify waste throughout the process. The removal of the waste – time, money, and resources – will keep Techmer PM competitive in the market and assist in growing the business.

“I would like to thank Governor Haslam and Commissioner Davis for their involvement in awarding this grant to the workers of Anderson County,” said Senator Randy McNally.

“By investing in the skills of Tennessee’s workforce, we’re also investing in our future economic success,” said Representative John Ragan.

The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency played a key role in awarding the grant to Protomet Corporation.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the Incumbent Worker Training program. The 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. Employersmust 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.

Press Releases

MTSU to Help Train Chinese Airline Pilots

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; January 25, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With MTSU’s nationally recognized aerospace program as a focal point, five groups announced the establishment of an agreement in principle today to work together to help train Chinese pilots on their new Beechcraft King Air 350 Extended Range airplane currently housed in Smyrna, Tenn.

Along with state Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, officials from MTSU, the Civil Aviation Authority in China, China-based Flying Dragon General Aviation Co. Ltd., Franklin, Tenn.-based PacUS LLC and Smyrna-based Corporate Flight Management announced the agreement during a morning meeting in the new Student Union Building.

Civil Aviation Authority in China officials discussed their interest in helping MTSU and Corporate Flight Management gain approval for training pilots on the new plane.

“We are spreading our wings internationally,” said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. “We’ve had this national reputation. Now we’re moving on the international front. And what a country to partner with. The aviation industry in China is about to explode. The airspace is going to fully open. And major companies like FedEx and UPS, they’re just waiting in the wings for this explosion, and MTSU will be in the forefront. “

Mike Vaughn, president of PacUS LLC, orchestrated all parties coming together on the agreement.

“Today, the success is realized,” Vaughn said, sharing that it all began two years ago when MTSU held a general aviation conference with the China National Aerospace University (Beihang University) at the MTSU’s flight center at Murfreesboro Airport.

“Since then, our business has grown,” he added. “We are comfortable doing business with China as Tennesseans. Trade is part of our heritage and we are proud to represent our state through commerce. Today is a milestone for us and we look forward to more sales and visits from China in the future.”

The Beechcraft King Air will be based in Qinghai, in the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau. The airplane will fly with a rear-tail, boom-mounted magnetometer used for geophysical and geochemical exploration in the Tibetan Plateau. Valued at more than $10 million, the U.S. export deal was arranged by the Franklin, Tenn.-based international business management company, PacUS LLC, and its Hong Kong affiliate, CFM China Ltd.

Vaughn added that wheels will be turning in all the application processes “in the next 30 days or so.”

Speaking through interpreter Jenny Wei, an MTSU aerospace graduate student who interns for Corporate Flight Management and PacUS and who will graduate in May, Chinese team leader Renhao Zhang said he “is excited to be here for the acceptance of the aircraft (King Air),” and “glad to see the cooperation” between all parties.

Zhang represented the Civil Aviation Authority in China Northeast Division. He was joined by fellow CAAC Northeast Division associates Bo Liang and Bin Yang, and Guowei Wang of China Flying Dragon during both today’s announcement and their week-long visit to Middle Tennessee.

Ketron, representing Gov. Bill Haslam, spoke of how this alliance means “the opening of doors and creation of jobs, helping the economy.”

The Civil Aviation Authority in China is the equivalent to the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration.

Dr. Ron Ferrara, interim chair of the MTSU aerospace department, said students would benefit from “more exposure to international students and it might open opportunities for them overseas.”

The airplane is housed at Corporate Flight Management’s hangar at the Smyrna Airport. Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China also is interested in purchasing maintenance services here.

Negotiations for selling the planes began in 2011 when Chinese Aero Geophysical Survey Remote officials visited Tennessee. The plane, which is the first of its type in China, will be delivered to Harbin, China, for their Aero Geophysical Survey Remote Sensing Center for Land and Resources, a division of China’s Ministry of Natural Resources. Company officials are in Rutherford County for the final on-site inspection before the plane is shipped to China.

Press Releases

Thousands of Teachers Begin Training in New Education Standards Statewide

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; July 10, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – More than 13,000 Tennessee teachers began training today on the Common Core State Standards, a set of nationally recognized criteria that raise expectations for Tennessee students, starting with math in the 2012-13 school year.

Two hundred teachers, appointed earlier this year as Common Core coaches, will lead sessions at 41 sites across the state, helping their peers better understand new focus areas for grades 3-8 math by practicing problems, watching model lessons and reviewing student work.

“The transition to Common Core State Standards in math is the beginning of a new era in education,” said Leslie Taylor, a Common Core coach and fourth-grade math teacher at A.L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville. “I know that we can move Tennessee to the forefront of national performance rankings and that our students will reap the benefits.”

These sessions make up Tennessee’s largest teacher-training program. The training model is designed to be peer-led, with assistance from content experts at the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Learning.

“Tennessee’s transition to the Common Core State Standards gives us opportunities to strengthen our competitiveness and ensure our students’ postsecondary success,” said Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “These standards also will give teachers the chance to engage their students more deeply in fewer focus areas, encouraging greater critical thinking skills.”

The Common Core State Standards also enable teachers to share ideas for lessons across schools and states. Tennessee is one of 46 states that have adopted Common Core State Standards as a way to set clear expectations for what students should learn in school, and align their education with necessary knowledge for college and careers. Teachers will focus on much fewer standards, which require deeper engagement in fundamental concepts. In third-grade math, for example, the number of standards taught will decrease from 113 currently to 25 under the Common Core State Standards.

“The spirit with which educators are coming together to support this transition is inspiring,” said Emily Barton, the department’s assistant commissioner of curriculum and instruction. “The work that the Core Coaches have started in their own classrooms suggests that as we bring this to all classrooms across the state, we’ll see greater student engagement and problem-solving skills.”

Tennessee will apply the Common Core State Standards for math in 2012-13 and for English-Language Arts in 2013-14. Tennessee students will take new assessments reflecting the standards in both subjects in 2014-15.

To learn more about Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards implementation plan, visit our website.

For more information, contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or