Senate Passes Democrat-Sponsored ‘Tennessee Works Act’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to help Tennesseans get off unemployment and find a job has passed the Senate.
The legislation, called the “Tennessee Works Act,” was unanimously approved 33-0 on Wednesday. The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the House Finance Committee.
The bill creates a pilot program to provide employers with grants to pay for training expenses for recently laid-off workers or workers whose jobs have gone overseas. In order to continue receiving the grant funds, employers agree to hire a portion of the employees trained.
The sponsor of the legislation, Democratic Sen. Andy Berke of Chattanooga, says the bill is proof that Republicans and Democrats “can work together to make Tennessee an even better place to work, play and live.”

Press release below


News release from Senate Democratic Caucus:
NASHVILLE – State Senator Andy Berke thanked leaders on both sides of the aisle Wednesday as the Senate unanimously passed the Tennessee Works Act, an initiative to help Tennesseans get off unemployment and back into the workplace.
“This bill links job seekers with job creators to grow our economy faster and make our communities stronger,” Berke said. “When we work together in Nashville, we can help put people back to work across Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Works Act (Senate Bill 2129) creates a pilot program to provide private employers with grants to pay for training expenses for recently laid off Tennessee workers or workers whose jobs have gone overseas. As a part of the agreement to continue receiving the grant funds, employers will hire a portion of the employees trained.
The program utilizes federal funds that can be used only to train workers in private sector jobs. Because the bill will help move Tennesseans off unemployment faster, it will save the state more than $900,000 in unemployment benefits.
Berke worked with Governor Bill Haslam, House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh and several other lawmakers from both parties over the last several months to gain bipartisan, cooperative support for the legislation.
“This bill is proof that Republicans and Democrats can work together to make Tennessee an even better place to work, play and live,” Berke said. “At a time when too many of the ideas in Nashville move us backward, Tennessee Works is a step in the right direction.”
The House version of the bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Finance, Ways and Means Committee this week.

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