Tag Archives: training

State’s Job Training Program Questioned

The effectiveness of the state’s $52 million job training program has been called into question after auditors found regional job training centers across the state were inflating their numbers to hit strict performance measures and keep their federal funding, reports the Tennessean.
Since the recession began in 2008, the state’s 13 local workforce training centers have been faced with a major challenge: Federal performance measures continue to rise, but high unemployment has led many dispirited workers to give up on job searches and leave their training programs voluntarily.
State auditors say the training centers — which provide training and other assistance to out-of-work adults, displaced workers and youths looking for jobs — responded to this challenge by padding their statistics.
According to an audit by the state comptroller released last month, the training centers failed to remove people who didn’t find jobs in a timely manner or continue their training. By doing so, the training centers, which are operated by either nonprofit groups or local government agencies, kept their statistics up and avoided the prospect of losing their federal funding.
.,,,The audit found that 29 percent of the randomly selected participants were not removed from the system. Some participants lingered in the program for as long as five years.
“Based on our inquiries, LWIAs (local workforce investment areas) kept participants who did not successfully complete the program in the (database) for years to show that these participants were still active in the program and thereby to avoid reporting those participants as unsuccessful exits from the program,” the audit stated.
“The program director at one LWIA told us that this has been the practice of LWIAs due to strict and unachievable performance measures.”
The audit did not specify which of the 13 training centers was engaged in the practice of manipulating its performance numbers. Brian Clark, executive director for the Nashville Career Advancement Center, which is the regional training program for Davidson, Rutherford, Wilson and Trousdale counties, said the training centers face a tough predicament.
The Nashville Career Advancement Center has regularly been achieving its own performance measures for job placement, retention and average annual salary, but Clark acknowledged the poor job climate has made its work more difficult. Clark said the challenge is to keep an out-of-work person engaged in the training program at a time when jobs are scarce.
The training program primarily focuses on low-earning, low-skilled workers. For instance, the 13 regional programs must help those they successfully place in jobs maintain cumulative average annual earnings of $13,700. Last year, 28,088 people used the state’s workforce development program.

Comptroller Report: $2,352 Per Teacher Spent on Training, Impact Uncertain

Tennessee spends tens of millions of dollars on professional development for its 63,000 public school teachers but has little idea if it makes a difference or even exactly what it costs, according to the Commercial Appeal.
The state budgeted $148.2 million of its $500 million in Race to the Top funds for teacher training, $2,352 per teacher over four years. Researchers say there is not enough data to show the effect on student learning or to even evaluate the content, according to a legislative brief from the state Offices of Research and Education Accountability in the Comptroller’s office.
One of the biggest issues is that more than half of the money — $80 million — is managed by local districts for their own training programs.
“It’s very difficult to determine what is going to professional development and other programs,” said Rebecca Wright, a legislative research analyst who wrote the 14-page report.
“These are local-level issues. Unless you get it at the local level, you aren’t going to find a lot of information,” she said.
The report offers no recommendations. It is the second briefing this year from OREA on professional development for teachers. The first described laws and policies and how the training was structured before Race to the Top.

Diversity and Sensitivity Training Suggested for TN Legislators

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Democratic leaders point to insulting comments made by two Republican lawmakers to the Legislature’s black caucus in calling for legislators to undergo diversity and sensitivity training.
State Sen. Jim Summerville of Dickson has been criticized for an email he sent earlier this month to the chairman of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators saying: “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the black caucus thinks.”
His Republican colleague, Stacey Campfield of Knoxville, has supported the comment and even called the black caucus a “segregationist organization” that should be ignored.
Three years ago, Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis held two diversity training sessions for legislative staffers following the revelation that a Tennessee legislative staffer sent a racist e-mail about President Barack Obama from her state computer.
About a year later, Deberry gave the same sessions to state Safety Department officers who provide Capitol Hill security after a state trooper accidentally sent an e-mail proclaiming white pride to 787 state employees.
Those attending the sessions spent at least five hours being coached to avoid discriminatory behavior unacceptable in the workplace. It was the same training Deberry’s marketing firm gave to some clients before he became a legislator.
Deberry, who is a member of the black caucus and a former chairman, said the recent comments reveal a culture of insensitivity that still exists at the Capitol and that maybe it’s time for lawmakers to go through some sessions.
“Statesmanship is the ability to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it,” said Deberry, adding that he would be willing to once again oversee the sessions.
“That’s what we have to do if we’re going to be successful in making good public policy and having good public image. We’ve got to … learn how to communicate better.”

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Legislators Get Ethical Educaton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers were being reminded Thursday of what they can and can’t do under the state’s ethics laws.
A joint training session was held for House and Senate members to educate them about the laws passed in the wake of the 2005 Tennessee Waltz bribery sting that led to federal charges against five current or former state lawmakers. The mandatory session is held annually.
Lawmakers were given binders outlining the new regulations.
They include prohibitions against receiving compensation for consulting and “accepting anything of value” from a lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist.
One regulation that changed this year is the amount a lobbyist can spend as long as it’s in compliance with the law. The amount increased from $50 to $55.
Dick Williams of the advocacy group Common Cause says the annual session for lawmakers is important because “it’s good to be periodically reminded” about the rules.

THP Training 54 New Troopers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Fifty-four Tennessee Highway Patrol cadets begin five months of training Monday in Nashville.
They will spend the next 18 weeks in classroom exercises and physical training, with graduates advancing to a maximum of 12 weeks of field training.
The more than 920 hours of classroom training is divided into 12 major categories including criminal and constitutional law, patrol procedures, professional ethical conduct and firearms.
Twenty-one of the cadets have military experience. Thirty-one have been in law enforcement, dispatch communications or corrections.
The THP currently has 800 troopers.

Police Training Company Deemed Unethical

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — An opinion by the Memphis ethics office concludes city police officers violated ethical standards by starting a company to train undercover officers.
In the opinion released Oct. 24 by chief city ethics officer Monika Johnson, she stated the program should be terminated because it has the appearance of a conflict of interest, according to The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/s84QmH).
The audit that led to the report is an outgrowth of an audit requested by Police Director Toney Armstrong, who took over the department in April.
Investigative Techniques Unlimited was created by MPD Sgt. Paul Sherman. The newspaper reported Sherman left the department on Thursday, taking a disability retirement that is effective Tuesday.
Johnson said officers employed by the company should either leave the department or not teach courses attended by city employees.

TBI Launches Sex Trafficking Training

Local law enforcement officers and nonprofit organizations will receive training on human sex trafficking from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation beginning today, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
“The numbers speak for themselves. Eighty-five percent [of Tennessee counties] reported a human sex-trafficking case in the last 24 months,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at a Wednesday news conference where he cited a recent study mandated by the Legislature.
“You have to understand there’s been very little training in this arena,” he said. “We go across the state and train every law enforcement officer, which is our goal, those numbers are even going to go higher.”
The Legislature also authorized the creation of a hotline for victims to receive help and reach safety. The hotline was launched statewide on Oct. 1. (The number:1-855-558-6484)
“It’s an anonymous hotline. Everything is completely anonymous. We want everyone to feel comfortable calling this hotline,” Gwyn said. “TBI is involved, but the information will be kept confidential.”