Lennox earns statewide award
Lennox Hearth Products in Union City has been awarded the inaugural Jim Alford Memorial Award for Outstanding Incumbent Worker Training.
Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner James Neeley presented the award, which publicly acknowledges the outstanding efforts of a Tennessee business that has provided assistance through the Incumbent Worker Training program.
Lennox spent $49,996 to train more than 350 workers in lean manufacturing, SAP technology, industrial maintenance skills, leadership skills, ergonomics and safety awareness. They are expected to add 100-150 new positions over the next 12 months.
The Jim Alford Memorial Award is given to companies that enhance job skills and personal development, help to prevent downsizing, create new jobs, prevent relocation while increasing the profitability of the company and improve short- and long-term wage levels of the employees being trained. The award is given in memory of Jim Alford, former director of employer services for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He died in 2007.
“I am proud to give this award to Lennox Hearth Products,” Neeley said. “This company has shown a dedication to workforce training and keeping jobs in Tennessee, Jim Alford would have been proud to know his hard work over the years has paid off for Tennesseans with more than 24,000 employees trained resulting from his service as director of the Incumbent Worker Training program.”
Jim Cooper, executive director of the Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation, praised the efforts of Lennox and Obion County industries overall.
“I think this speaks volumes as to the type of companies we have in Obion County,” he said. “Lennox has to feel deeply honored to receive this award. We certainly feel honored that one of our industries was the recipient, especially in light of the fact it’s a first and it has involved companies all across Tennessee.
“We congratulate Lennox and the fine workforce they have established in our community.”
Dyersburg State Community College played a key role in assisting Lennox in winning the Jim Alford Memorial Award and assisting them with the Incumbent Worker Grant program.
Two other Tennessee employers were named finalists for the award — Domtar in Kingsport and Toho Tenax America Inc. in Rockwood.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the incumbent Worker Training program, which has been structured to be flexible to meet the business’s training objectives. The business may use public, private or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training.
The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.
Published in The Messenger 12.13.07