The Tennessee Governor has recently gotten WIRED on behalf of the workers of the state of Tennessee. WIRED (the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development Initiative) is a collaborative effort developed to assist workers in economically troubled regions to upgrade job skills in order to bring improved job opportunities and higher wages where unemployment rates are traditionally high.
The WIRED initiative has recently announced the award of a Tennessee unemployment grant that is part of collaboration between the US Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal agencies working in conjunction with state, regional and local entities. The Tennessee grant is part of the third wave of grants totaling $260 million that have been awarded in recent years to 26 regions across the country.
Rapidly emerging technological advances in the workplace are the focus of the Tennessee unemployment grant. These highly technical jobs bring higher wages which, in turn, boost the economies of regions where these jobs are found. The WIRED program will work to develop the higher paying job opportunities and train the regional workforce to develop the skills needed to land and maintain these higher paying jobs.
In the recent announcement of the Tennessee unemployment grant, DOL Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said, “This regional economic development strategy transcends political boundaries to better leverage a region’s assets to help workers succeed in the 21st century worldwide economy.”
The WIRED grants are awarded amidst keen competition from state governors invited to submit proposals. Each state is allowed to submit two proposals which must clearly describe economic need. Also included in the grant proposals are supplemental sources of support from state and regional agencies and the local private sector.
Citing the importance of the collaboration of multiple entities, Secretary Chao adds, “Investing in area workforces through this collaborative approach will boost entire regions’ economic vitality.” Providing workers with the opportunity to keep job skills current they will be better able to maintain a competitive edge in the job market. The WIRED initiative provides approaches that go beyond the traditional methods used to improve job opportunities and economic growth.
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