NASHVILLE – During the 12-month period ending in March 2013, more than 6,000 unemployed or underemployed Tennessee workers were enrolled in training for a variety of occupations.
The Adult and Dislocated Worker Program gives eligible workers services and training to increase employability and earnings in jobs in their local communities. The program also provides local employers the skilled workers they need to keep a successful and viable workforce in place.
“When jobseekers come into our Career Centers, we do an objective assessment to determine their skills in a particular area and match those with job opportunities based on their skills. We try to move people directly into a job with a company that is hiring,” said Sterling van der Spuy, Workforce Services Administrator for the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
Sometimes the Career Center staff cannot create an immediate transition to an employment opportunity for the person who has lost his job. “The next step is to use Jobs4TN.gov to examine job opportunities and in-demand occupations in the area to determine a successful career path of interest to the job seeker. We assess the person’s skills and abilities and decide if this is a candidate for whom we could make some training investment to be successful – maybe to meet the demands of a new industry that has just moved into the community,” van der Spuy said.
The training is made available with federal funds through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Past WIA funding has made possible special arrangements with community colleges for employers coming to Tennessee and needing potential employees to take a certain curriculum.
WIA money does not pay the entire cost of training. WIA staff connects participants with other sources that can supplement costs, such as grants and scholarships.
In addition to classroom training, 1,204 workers were enrolled in on-the-job training statewide through March 2013. With on-the-job training, the department uses WIA money to offset some of the wages for the training when the skill cannot be learned in a classroom. The department shares the wages so a manager who’s producing revenue for the company can spend time with a newly hired employee teaching him how to do the job.
The State Workforce Board, made up of business, community, and government leaders, allocates funding received under the Workforce Investment Act to 13 Local Workforce Investment Areas to provide workforce development and career services based on local needs. Eligible training providers, approved by Local Workforce Investment Area Boards, are available at https://apps.tn.gov/wiaetpl-app/search.html.
Employers and workers wanting more information about WIA training can go to http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/empwfd.shtml.