Tennessee’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) is offering grants to educate Hamilton County immigrants in English literacy and civics. However, TDLWD confirmed with The Tennessee Star that it won’t be requiring proof of legal status for participation. TDLWD hasn’t required proof for nearly two years. The department explained that its Adult Education Division made the change to align with federal regulations concerning the program. The only requirements for immigrants who participate in the program are that they are over 16 years old, not enrolled in secondary school, and classified as an English language learner.
Hamilton County drew significant attention over the last few months after it was discovered that the Biden Administration was driving and flying unaccompanied migrant children into Chattanooga. Several weeks ago, followup reports emerged that these children were potentially enduring abuse at their holding facilities. Around the same time, one teenage boy went missing from the Chattanooga facility.
Tennessee government officials told The Tennessee Star they’ve received about 300 complaints of individuals passing up work for unemployment benefits. According to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD), these are the total complaints filed since last March – when Governor Bill Lee first declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Unemployment claims have fallen steadily since the beginning of the pandemic – claims reached their height a little over a year ago, totaling over 325,000.
Nearly 264,000 job postings are active currently on the state’s job site alone. As of May 8, TDLWD reported a total of 50,376 continued claims, and the unemployment rate sits at 5 percent. Of 95 counties in the state, only 8 have continued unemployment claims running in the thousands: Shelby, Davidson, Rutherford, Knox, Hamilton, Montgomery, Sumner, and Maury counties. Shelby County leads by far, with over 13,000 continued claims – coming in second is Davidson County with around half that amount: over 6,600 continued claims.
Because of progress made lowering Tennessee’s unemployment rate, 3,000 Tennesseans receiving unemployment payments through the federal Extended Benefits program no longer will receive those funds beginning Nov. 7.
The U.S. Department of Labor administers the Extended Benefits program based on each state’s unemployment metrics. Tennessee crossed the threshold of economic recovery earlier this month, triggering the end of the program, the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development (TDLWD) announced Friday.