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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [07/15/2009]
Contact Name: Jennifer Kaplan
Phone Number: (202) 693-5052
Release Number: 09-0822-ATL

U.S. Labor Department announces release of $141.8 million in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to Tennessee

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has certified for release $141,808,031 in unemployment insurance (UI) modernization incentive funds to the state of Tennessee. Tennessee qualified for its full share of the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) by providing for a variety of family friendly provisions that assist recent entrants to the workforce, workers seeking part-time work and workers with children.

"Tennessee has made important updates to its UI program to better meet the needs of 21st century workers and their families," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Especially in times like this, it is essential that the safety net be expanded to include recent entrants to the workforce and part-time workers, and that jobless workers be able to support their families."

"These Recovery Act funds represent another way in which vital support is being provided to workers and their families in auto communities in Tennessee," added Dr. Ed Montgomery, executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. "By making sure more of those workers who have paid into unemployment insurance are able to get benefits, these funds will help more families cope with these challenging economic times."

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

State and federal officials had the following comments about this announcement:

"Governing means balancing the dual responsibilities of providing vital services that help people in need and fiscal stewardship," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. "These funds provided by the Recovery Act are important not only to unemployment claimants but also to the employers who pay premiums into the unemployment insurance trust fund. This stimulus, along with other responsible measures enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly this year, will help ensure the long-term health and fiscal stability of the program."

"I am pleased this additional assistance will be available to those hardest hit by the recession. The Recovery Act is making a positive impact in Tennessee. The release of these benefits, along with the jobs the Recovery Act is creating, will provide Tennessee families with the help they need to weather this crisis," said Rep. Bart Gordon, who represents the state's 6th Congressional District.

"Unemployment insurance helps Tennessee families get through tough economic times," said Rep. Jim Cooper, who represents the state's 5th Congressional District. "By updating this insurance program for our 21st century workforce, Tennessee can help working families get back on their feet as soon as possible. And with a state unemployment rate above 10 percent, these Recovery Act funds are coming at a crucial time."

"Unemployment insurance has helped relieve the pain and fear of recently unemployed families in my congressional district by providing income to pay bills and make ends meet," said Rep. Lincoln Davis, who represents Tennessee's 4th Congressional District. "This funding will help them seek out a new job as well as train for a different field of work."

The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. Each state can qualify for a share of those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions. Tennessee's approved application will be posted at the department's Employment and Training Administration Web site at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery/. Other approved applications can also be found on this site.