U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration has awarded a group of nine Tennessee and 14 Alabama counties a $5 million Second Generation Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant. The Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama Second Generation WIRED Region brings together local colleges and universities, business groups and workforce agencies to best develop the workforce in their region.
“In my meetings with local officials in Southern Tennessee in December, the top priority was jobs,” said Alexander. “One great way to create more good jobs is job training, which this grant will help provide. I’m thankful for the five million dollars that the Department of Labor has awarded the Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama Region and am confident that it will be put to good use.”
“Tennesseans have a tremendous work ethic. This grant helps ensure that we’re preparing and training hard working Tennesseans in the region with the skills they need to compete for good jobs,” said Corker. “I appreciate the Department of Labor’s investment in Southern Tennessee and look forward to doing all I can to help these counties reach their economic development goals.”
The Southern Tennessee and Northern Alabama region was one of thirteen regions receiving grants. The award highlights that global competition, typically seen as a national challenge, has regional front lines where companies, workers, researchers, entrepreneurs and governments come together to create a competitive advantage.
The WIRED grant harnesses talent development to drive economic transformation in regional economies across the United States. The Tennessee and Alabama region will immediately receive $500,000 to begin developing a comprehensive implementation plan to use their funds to transform new ideas and new knowledge into advanced, high quality products or services. Once a plan is completed and approved, they will receive an additional $4.5 million to execute that plan over a three-year period.
Participating Tennessee counties include Wayne, Lewis, Maury, Lawrence, Giles, Lincoln, Franklin, Marion and Marshall Counties. Strategic partners include Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Calhoun Community College, Marshall Space Flight Center, Port of Huntsville and regional educational centers, businesses and local governments.