Tennessee officials will give $3 million of taxpayer money to 38 counties they have deemed “distressed and at-risk” to bolster workforce development efforts.
But these officials did not elaborate as to whether there are results-oriented conditions attached to the use of this money.
Tennessee officials describe this grant money as the Rural Initiative Funding Opportunity Announcement.
According to a Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development press release, Morgan County will receive $131, 501 for “work-based learning” purposes.
Morgan County Executive Brian Langley told The Tennessee Star Monday state officials have said little to him about the grant money, and it’s not yet known how he and his colleagues will spend it.
“There is a smorgasbord of ways you can utilize those funds. Part of it could be to help people who have been out of work or trying to get back into the workforce with their job training. Maybe even paying for school supplies they may need (for their job training). If they are taking a welding class, for instance, then they may be able to apply that money to get tools they need to make it through that class,” Langley said.
“There are people not able to work right now, for whatever reason. This (money) will help them get back into the workforce which, in return, will help them have more money to be able to pay bills and do things that will help them and improve their life. Also, our opioid problem is the biggest problem we face. This will hopefully battle both of those challenges and get more people in the workforce so they can pay their bills.”
Langley said he did not know if state officials will later assess whether the benefits of the money exceed the costs to taxpayers.
Lauderdale County, meanwhile, will get $132,649 for reasons not yet specified.
Lauderdale County Mayor Maurice Gaines said Monday he still did not know how he and other county officials will spend that money.
Workforce Development Deputy Commissioner Deniece Thomas told The Star in an email that officials from each of the 38 counties submitted a service proposal draft budget before state officials handed over the money.
“We will require updates to ensure these funds met the intended goal,” Thomas wrote.
“This will aid our department in evaluating these types of initiatives for future funding.”
Money for the RIFOA comes from the Governor’s reserve of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity funds. TDLWD will provide additional program guidance to the local workforce development boards which receive funding, according to a press release.
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