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Kenton awarded grant for recycling facility

Kenton awarded grant for recycling facility
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
KMI Group in Kenton has been awarded a $25,000 state job training grant, according to state Rep. Bill Sanderson.
The KMI Group factory is located at 320 North Main St. and has been in operation in Kenton’s former Brown Shoe plant since 1999.
The local recycling facility employs 18 to 20 workers, according to plant manager Russell Neil.
He told The Messenger the Kenton plant takes waste injection molding material and recycles it for reuse.
The local factory is the company’s only production plant. KMI Group is headquartered in Newport Beach, Calif., and is owned by Kevin Vakili.
Sina Jashfar, general manager of the Kenton plant, said the state grant will help the factory achieve ISO certification and will ultimately help with a planned expansion.
“It will help us add more jobs and keep growing,” he said.
Prior to moving into the Kenton Brown Shoe plant, KMI Group was operating in Huntsville, Ala. Jashfar said relocating to Tennessee “made sense” due to the state’s strategic location. He described the Kenton site as a good fit for KMI Group.
“That’s the only industry we really have here. I’m proud that we have them,” Kenton Mayor Virginia Davidson said. “We’re really pleased for KMI Group to get this grant and we’re hopeful it will help them grow.”
“Both job creation and retention are vital in maintaining a healthy economy in Tennessee, and the Incumbent Worker Training program has played a key role in accomplishing this,” state Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development Karla Davis said. “Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 600 businesses by providing $14 million to train approximately 50,000 employees.”
In the grant application, the KMI Group stated this grant would help train their project manager in ISO certification and, in turn, the manager will then train the rest of KMI’s employees. This will ensure that all standard procedures are being implemented and KMI employees are equipped with the skills needed to meet all quality standards.
“I would like to thank Gov. (Bill) Haslam and Commissioner Davis for their involvement in awarding this grant to the workers of Obion County,” Sanderson said. “By investing in the skills of Tennessee’s workforce, we’re also investing in our future economic success.”
Dyersburg State Community College played a key role in helping the KMI Group secure the state grant.
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.
Funding priority for the grants are given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills. Published in The Messenger 12.5.12

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