University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Soon to Begin Offering Degrees in Cybersecurity

The University of Tennessee (UT) Board of Trustees approved a plan that allows UT Chattanooga to begin offering degrees in cybersecurity beginning in the spring 2023 semester.

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Department of Economic and Community Development Announces Two Major Projects Coming to Knoxville, Clarksville

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) announced two new economic investment projects are underway in the Volunteer State that are expected to create 175 new jobs in total.

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Americans for Prosperity Calls Out Oracle for Reported Layoffs While Receiving Taxpayer Money

Following a report that tech company Oracle has begun laying off workers from its Nashville location, the libertarian conservative political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity is calling on state and local leaders to scrutinize the company especially after it received “nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer money.”

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Hardcoat Technologies LLC Announces $6.6 Million Expansion in Knox County

On Friday, Hardcoat Technologies LLC officials announced that the company will invest $6.6 million to expand manufacturing operations at its Papermill Drive location in Knoxville.

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Lithium-Based Company Announces $582 Million Investment in Southeast Tennessee

Piedmont Lithium officials announced Thursday that the company would invest $582 million to establish a lithium hydroxide processing, refining, and manufacturing facility in Etowah.

The new facility will be located at the North Etowah Industrial Park, creating 117 new jobs in McMinn County. According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD), the facility will be America’s largest “lithium hydroxide processing” facility.

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Knoxville Public Service Department to Host Job Fair on September 15

The city of Knoxville’s public service department announced that it will hold a job fair on September 15th, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., located at the Public Works Service Center.

The Public Service Job Fair is geared toward job seekers “looking for steady, satisfying outdoor work that helps keep Knoxville clean and operating efficiently,” the department wrote in a press release.

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Survey: 56 Percent of Companies Dropping COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates to Retain Talent, Grow Workforce

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers 2022 Pulse survey, business leaders are implementing a range of measures to retain talent and grow their workforce, including dropping COVID-19 vaccine mandates as a condition of in-person employment.

According to the survey, 56% of companies said they were dropping COVID-19 vaccine mandates for on-site work. The survey findings, published Aug. 18, came after vaccine mandates continue to be challenged and overturned in courts and after it remains questionable that the COVID-19 vaccines were effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

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Ventcon, Inc. Announces $6.7 Million Investment in Madison County

Ventcon, Inc. officials announced on Tuesday that the company will invest $6.7 million in Madison County to establish its first manufacturing operations outside of the company’s headquarters in Allen Park, Michigan.

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Alfresco Pasta Holds Grand Opening Ceremony for New Operations in Crockett County

Alfresco Pasta Brand, LLC held a grand opening ceremony Tuesday in Bells, Tennessee to celebrate the company’s expansion in Crockett County. The ceremony comes after the company announced in March its intention to invest $3.8 million to expand and relocate its operations from Nashville to Bells.

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Manufacturing Company Announces $95 Million Investment in Bedford County

Duksan Electera America, Inc. officials announced Wednesday that the company will invest $95 million to locate its first North American manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, Tennessee. Duksan Electera is a branch of the South Korean-based Duksan Group which is an advanced material manufacturer.

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New Company Invests $8.2 Million in Williamson County to Relocate Headquarters from Illinois

Highland Ventures Ltd. officials announced Monday that the company will invest $8.2 million to relocate its headquarters operations from Glenview, Illinois, to Brentwood, Tennessee. The company “is planning to take advantage of the unprecedented growth” within Brentwood to support its expansion strategies.

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TechnologyAdvice, LLC Announces $2.7 Million Investment in Nashville to Expand Headquarters

TechnologyAdvice, LLC officials announced this week that the company would invest $2.7 million to expand its headquarters and other back-office functions in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Tennessee Hills Distillery Announces $21.3 Million Investment in Sullivan County

Tennessee Hills Distillery officials announced Monday that the company will invest $21.3 million to expand in Northeast Tennessee by adding a Bristol location to serve as the company’s new headquarters. The company’s newest investment joins its existing operations in Jonesborough and Johnson City.

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iFixit to Invest $24.2 Million in Chattanooga, Creating 201 New Jobs

iFixit officials announced Monday that the company will establish its East Coast hub for distribution and innovation in Chattanooga. iFixit will invest $24.2 million and create 201 new jobs in Hamilton County over the next five years, according to a press release by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD).

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2022 McMinn Regional Job Fair Set for July 21st at Athens Regional Park

The McMinn County Economic Development Authority is hosting the 2022 McMinn Regional Job Fair at Athens Regional Park on July 21. The job fair will be held from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. (EST) and will host over 20 regional employers with current job openings ready to hire.

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Nashville Mayor John Cooper Announces Formation of the Youth Career Exploration and Alignment Opportunities Task Force

On Wednesday, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the formation of the Youth Career Exploration and Alignment Opportunities Task Force, according to a press release from Cooper’s office.

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Kroger Expected to Bring 180 Jobs to Nashville with New ‘Spoke’ Facility

Kroger Fulfillment Network, LLC officials announced Thursday that Kroger Co. will offer more Americans product delivery through the addition of a “spoke” facility in Nashville. The project is expected to bring 180 new jobs to Davidson County.

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer Touts $77 Billion 2023 Budget, Despite No Tax Relief

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is touting the $77 billion 2023 fiscal year budget that she says will improve Michigan’s economy and workforce.

Whitmer bragged that the budget negotiated with Republicans doesn’t raise taxes. However, it also keeps $7 billion of taxpayer money locked in state coffers while spending another $7 billion more than the prior budget.

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Only Two Tennessee Counties Saw Unemployment Rates Above Five Percent in May

New data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) on Thursday showed unemployment rates increased slightly during May in each of the state’s 95 counties. However, even with the minimal increases, 93 of Tennessee’s 95 counties maintained rates lower than 5% for the month.

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Students from Across the Nation Are Competing at SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta This Week

This week, from June 20th-24th, students from across the United States are gathering at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta for SkillsUSA’s 58th annual National Leadership & Skills Conference (NLSC).

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Tennessee Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly from Previous Month’s Historic Low

Preliminary data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) indicated Tennessee’s unemployment rate for May 2022 increased slightly from March and April’s record-breaking rate of 3.2%.

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Only One Tennessee County Had Unemployment Rate Higher than Five Percent in April

Only one Tennessee county had an unemployment rate above 5% during the month of April, according to newly released data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Perry County was the only county with a rate above 5%, coming in at 5.1%. Although coming in with the highest rate for April, Perry County was down 0.1 of a percentage point from its March rate of 5.2% 

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February Unemployment Rate Drops in Every Tennessee County Following National Trend

Unemployment rates dropped in every Tennessee county in February, according to new data released by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). The department made the announcement in a press release Thursday.

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New York City Fires over 1,400 Workers Who Failed to Meet Deadline for COVID-19 Vaccine

New York City recently fired nearly 1,500 municipal workers who failed to comply with its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, officials said Monday.

City officials said 1,430 workers were fired Friday and that the number represents less than 1% of the city’s 370,000-person workforce. The number was also far smaller than what they had predicted.

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Tennessee’s Unemployment Reaches Lowest Level Since January 2020

Unemployment in Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released late last week. The state ended 2021 with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, which was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the rate it recorded in November. Over the past year, Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points from 5.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Wants to Give $700M Back to Taxpayers

group of three people standing and talking

Gov. Tim Walz says he plans to send 2.7 million Minnesotans “Walz Checks” up to $350 as part of his 2022 Local Jobs and Projects Plan.

“To continue growing Minnesota’s economy, we must invest in the people who made it strong in the first place,” Walz said in a statement. “By investing in workforce development, cutting taxes for the middle class and working families, lowering costs, and expanding access to resources like technical education and high-speed broadband, we will improve economic prosperity across the state and grow the workforce we need to compete.”

The proposal aims to deliver $700 million in direct payments to Minnesotans funded by Minnesota’s tax surplus.

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Missouri Economic Leaders Give Glimpse of How $2.6 Billion in Federal Pandemic Funds Will be Spent

Maggie Kost

Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) recently previewed how Gov. Mike Parson plans to allocate the state’s $2.6 billion portion of federal pandemic funds.

In late December, Maggie Kost, acting director of the DED, outlined major priorities for Missouri’s portion of the more than $195 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A total of $350 billion will be delivered to the 50 states and the District of Columbia and local and Tribal governments throughout the nation to support the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount of ARPA funds, passed in March 2021, is $1.9 trillion.

“We want to give you an idea of what to expect as we get into the legislative and budget session here in January,” Kost said. “As you’re planning and setting priorities locally for communities, we want to make sure you have an idea of what’s to come so you can think about how to leverage state funds as you’re building out your local priorities.”

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$10 Million Grants Awarded for Semiconductor Manufacturing in Central Florida

semiconductor

With chip and semiconductor shortages expected to last through the year, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida is continuing its investment in local technology initiatives to strengthen the economy and job growth and eventually offset future production delays.

Osceola County and Valencia College received nearly $10 million in funding through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to support semiconductor and other advanced technology manufacturing in the county.

The award includes $6 million to assist with developing infrastructure connecting the county’s emerging NeoCity technology district with its workforce, and $3.7 million to Valencia College to develop a new program that will train students in utilizing robotics technology for semiconductor manufacturing. The two awards are designed to help create manufacturing jobs and develop a talent pipeline to support industry growth.

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Michigan’s $40 Million ‘Going Pro’ Fund Helps 30,000 Train and Get Jobs

A $40 million project is estimated to help 30,000 workers statewide secure employment through the state’s Going PRO Talent Fund.

The program aims to lure back Michigan’s workforce lost during COVID-19, encourage specialization, and help businesses fill jobs in a tight labor market. Between Feb. 2020 and April 2020, Michigan’s labor force plunged by 341,500 or 6.9%. Labor force levels in Michigan have rebounded modestly, increasing by 139,400 or 3% percent from April 2020 to August 2021.

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Boeing Suspends Vaccine Mandate for Employees

Boeing Friday said it has suspended its requirement that U.S.-based employees be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

The announcement comes as several attempts by President Joe Biden to require vaccinations for workers in various settings have been blocked by courts in recent weeks.

“Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for our customers, and advancing the health and safety of our global workforce,” a company spokesperson told KOMO News. “As such, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster if they have not done so. Meanwhile, after careful review, Boeing has suspended its vaccine requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting the enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.”

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Resolute Forest Products in Calhoun Announces 350 Layoffs Just Days Before Christmas

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (formerly known as Bowater) announced the indefinite idling of pulp and paper operations at its Calhoun, Tennessee mill, according to a press release by the company. The company anticipates that the decision will directly affect 350 hourly and salaried positions.

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Child Tax Credit Is Driving Americans Toward Entrepreneurship, Has Little Effect on Workforce

A new study suggests that the child tax credit (CTC) is not reducing overall employment nationwide but is driving some low and middle-income parents away from their private sector jobs and toward self-employment.

The study, led by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis’ Social Policy Institute and Appalachian State University and provided exclusively to the Daily Caller News Foundation, found that the monthly payments had barely any impact on the job market whatsoever, contradicting concerns that the tax credits would worsen the labor shortage. It also found that adults were far less likely to list child care as a reason for unemployment, with the share of people saying so dropping from 26% to below 20% once they began receiving the payments.

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Bill Would Stop Income Taxes for Ohio College Grads for Three Years

A lawmaker wants Ohio college graduates to put their degrees to work in the state, and he wants to eliminate state income taxes for three years for those who take a full-time job in Ohio.

Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, also wants more out-of-state students to choose higher education in Ohio by offering 100 merit-based scholarships to the top students in other states.

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Report: Arizona to Add 700K Jobs by 2030, Triple the U.S. Rate

Arizona’s economic conditions are estimated to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers to the state.

A report from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity indicated the state’s economic growth is expected to outpace the national average.

“The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is projecting Arizona employment to increase to 3,751,905 jobs in 2030 from 3,030,216 jobs in 2020,” the report said. “This represents growth of 721,689 jobs, or 2.2% annualized growth. By comparison, United States employment is projected to grow by 0.7% annually from 2020 to 2030.”

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Finance Guru and Fox Business Contributor Liz Peek Brings the Hard Financial Truth in a Biden Economy

Liz Peek, Fox News contributor

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Fox Business Contributor Liz Peek to the newsmakers line to give hard truths on the economic climate of America.

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Brnovich Requests Restraining Order Against Biden Vaccine Mandate

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the U.S. District Court in Arizona for a temporary restraining order and nationwide preliminary injunction against the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history,” Brnovich said in a news release Friday. 

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New York City to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Entire City Workforce

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that all New York City municipal workers would be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

All municipal employees, including police and firefighters, will have until Oct. 29 to receive their first shot or risk losing their jobs, according to de Blasio. City employees will receive an additional $500 in their paychecks after receiving their first dose.

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Commentary: Biden’s Medical Apartheid

Joe Biden

Events this weekend showcased the intense bifurcation of America into two separate realities. As our country observed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, former presidents gathered, sans Donald Trump, in New York for a solemn ceremony — wearing masks even though they are fully vaccinated and were outside. In Shanksville, Pa., George W. Bush leveraged the occasion to take a not-very-veiled shot at the MAGA movement, comparing its most fervent adherents to the 9/11 terrorists.

Meanwhile, at stadiums across America, massive crowds of rowdy, unmasked college football fans tailgated, packed into stadiums, and also recalled the grim events of 2001, but in far more boisterous displays of patriotism.

This same-day divergence highlights the sharply divided nation of 2021. That chasm will now only widen as Joe Biden targets many of those same people, the ones unwilling to live under the thumb of onerous government virus mitigation restrictions. These ineffective mandates may nominally emanate from science, but they moreover stem from a preference for coercion and control by Democrat politicians, all with the assistance of powerful business interests, including Big Tech and Big Pharma.

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Report: Many Tennessee Economic Indicators Trend up, Others Mixed

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nashville, Tennessee. One of Nashville's renowned honky-tonk bars, Tootsie's has featured over the years many performing artists who have since become famous, such as Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Kris Kristofferson.

How is Tennessee’s economy doing? A lot of it is doing well when compared to the COVID-19 lows on many economic indicators such as employment, a new Sycamore Institute report shows.

But other items are troubling, such as there being 40% fewer small businesses in Tennessee as of late June data than there were before the pandemic. That’s considering that 99% of private sector workers in the state work for small businesses, defined as companies of 500 employees or less.

“There are a lot of things going on here,” said Brian Straessle, the Sycamore Institute’s Director of External Affairs. “There isn’t like one nice neat narrative of the economy right now.”

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Michigan Jobs 322,000 Under Pre-Pandemic Level

Detroit skyline at night

Sixteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan is still behind 322,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic in Feb. 2020. 

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 5% percent was unchanged in June, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were little changed in June,” Wayne Rourke, the associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “The Michigan unemployment rate has been near 5.0 percent for five consecutive months. Payroll job counts in June were similar to March levels.”

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Georgia Long-Term Care Facilities Face Financial Hardship from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on Georgia’s long-term care facilities, officials said.

Devon Barill, communications director for the Georgia Health Care Association and Georgia Center for Assisted Living (GHCA/GCAL), said the facilities have faced increased expenses and revenue losses from caring for the state’s most vulnerable population.

While COVID-19 can lead to severe complications in older people and those with underlying issues, the congregated facilities are often home to the elderly and people who require supportive care.

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Donald Trump Commentary: A Plan to Get Divisive and Radical Theories Out of Our Schools

Teacher holding book, reading to boy student

As a candidate, Joe Biden’s number one promise was to “unite” America. Yet in his first months as president, his number one priority has been to divide our country by race and gender at every turn.

There is no clearer example than the Biden administration’s new effort aimed at indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived. It is vital for Americans to understand what this initiative would do, what drives it and, most importantly, how we can stop it.

For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light. Yet in recent years, this deeply unnatural effort has progressed from telling children that their history is evil to telling Americans that they are evil.

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Ohio Colleges, Universities Oppose Senate’s Higher Ed Reform

woman in cap and gown

What some are calling one of the most significant pieces of higher education reform in years in Ohio is also drawing opposition from state colleges and universities.

The Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee held its fourth hearing Wednesday on Senate Bill 135, which bill sponsor Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, said was a bold plan to enhance higher education and workforce development.

Cirino’s plan addresses student debt, allows more low-cost higher education options that include the state’s community colleges and requires high schools to inform students of career options that require associate degrees or certificates, rather than only four-year degree options.

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New Interim Teacher Certification Program Aims to Provide More Teachers of Color in Schools

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has approved the New Paradigm for Education program to promote alternative teacher certification in the state.

New Paradigm will offer a residency-based alternative route to teacher certification to recruit, train, and retain high-quality educators, particularly teachers of color and male teachers of color.

“We continue to work beyond conventional methods to help address the gaps in the teacher workforce,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said in a statement. “There is a substantial teacher shortage in Michigan, which is even more acute for teachers of color.”

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South Carolina, Montana to Stop Providing Pandemic-Related Welfare

"Come in, we're open" business sign

The states of South Carolina and Montana have both decided in recent days to put an end to their handouts of federal unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to encourage residents to return to the workforce, as per CNN.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) said in his announcement that “incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to return to the workforce.” Instead, Governor Gianforte announced that the state government will be providing $1,200 checks as bonuses to every citizen who returns to work, using the state’s share of the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package to pay for it.

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster (R-S.C.) announced on Thursday that the state would be ending their share of federal unemployment benefits, since “what was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”

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