Press Releases

TN Enrolls 6,000 Unemployed, Underemployed Workers in Training Programs

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor; July 17, 2013:

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 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

Employers and workers wanting more information about WIA training can go to

Press Releases

State Awards Nearly $125K in Workforce Training Grants

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development; February 13, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis have awarded $124,713 in job training grants to eight companies across the state. Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills and avoiding layoffs for their employees.

“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.”

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 Grants


Painters’ Union Opens Stimulus-Funded Nuclear Training Lab

Workers can train for jobs in the nuclear power industry at a $107,000 federal stimulus-funded computer lab housed at a union hall in Chattanooga, which workers began using last month, the Times Free Press reports.

“Local Union 226 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades on Wednesday debuted its Nantel Computer Training Lab, which provides access to tests needed to work in a nuclear power facility. The tests are part of a nationwide Internet-based system — the National Academy for Nuclear Training e-Learning system — that provides free courses in areas such as plant access and radiation protection.

“The lab is open to anyone, regardless of occupation or union affiliation, trying to find work in a nuclear power facility, Susie Friel, director of the lab, said.”

In other stimulus news, a recent claim by President Obama that the federal stimulus has been delivered speedily and under-budget is only half-true, according to the news website ProPublica together with PolitiFact, a site that rates the truthfulness of politicians’ statements.

Obama made this claim during an interview on the most recent 60 Minutes: “One of the interesting things about the Recovery Act was most of the projects came in under budget, faster than expected, because there’s just not a lot of work there.”

ProPublica and PolitiFact researched the statement and found it to be a stretch. A big problem is that there’s just no data available to test the statement in an empirical way.

But ProPublica did its own number-crunching, analyzing the stimulus money that flowed through the Federal Highway Administration. It found that 45 percent of the projects have been completed, and of those, 51 percent were completed earlier than the estimated date.

“Several hundred projects had no estimated date.

“In the case of the Federal Highway Administration, Obama could rightly claim that ‘most’ projects have come in faster than expected (though barely, at 51 percent). But this is just one agency.

“As with the claim about projects coming in under budget, Obama would have been on firm ground had he said ‘many’ projects have come in faster than expected. Many have. But many have not. And if the claim is based on meeting a deadline to outlay funds, the overall target of 70 percent was reached — barely — by the end of September. That’s only faster than expected if you expected the government to fail.”

Read more here or here.