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80 Years Ago

Archives 06-29-2005



Nearly 400 jobs to be lost with closing of TRW plant
LA scores high on mandated Gateway tests
Unemployment up slightly in Overton County



Nearly 400 jobs to be lost with closing of TRW plant

Becky Meredith/OCN staff
The Cookeville TRW manufacturing plant will close down by the middle of 2006.

Making the term job security mean even less to the American workforce, the Michigan-based TRW Automotive company announced last Thursday plans to shut down its assembly plant in Cookeville by the middle of 2006, leaving some 390 employees in search of alternative jobs.

The Cookeville plant has been manufacturing driver and passenger airbags for various automotive corporations for 15 years.

Cited as the reason for moving the plant to Chihuahua, Mexico, was the "steadily increasing pricing pressure in the marketplace and the need to remain competitive to secure new business growth."

Dennie Boyer, vice president of operations for North America Occupant Safety Systems, said, "The pressures in the marketplace require us to make difficult decisions to remain competitive in the future.

"This decision is not a reflection of the Cookeville operation or its workforce," Boyer explained.

Employees at the Cookeville site found out in an afternoon meeting that the factory was moving out-of-country, just hours before the media reported it.

Some were thankful, however, the announcement was made a year in advance; reportedly when Mississippi's TRW plant went out, employees arrived at work one day to find doors locked and were left to assume their jobs were gone, as no explanation had been given.

The Putnam County plant's move affects husbands and wives who work there, as well as siblings and parents and children who are employed there together.

According to reports, TRW of Cookeville is considered the best in quality and safety of all the TRW factories.

The company promises its employees full assistance and support will be provided in helping prepare them for future employment at that time. Headquartered in Livonia, MI, the company, through its subsidiaries, employs approximately 60,000 individuals in 24 countries.

The news of TRW's closing comes shortly after an announcement by the Russell Stover plant in Cookeville that the candy manufacturer will have laid off around 400 workers by late summer.



LA scores high on mandated Gateway tests

Livingston Academy has high test scores in the 2004-2005 state mandated Gateway, end-of-course, and writing assessments tests, according to the high school administration and testing coordinator Pat Swallows.

LA Principal Gary Ledbetter said, "Even though we have some areas that need improvement, overall, students did really well, with high scores in all areas.

Principal Ledbetter further stated, "Our students are consistently scoring at or above state reported averages.

"Teachers who teach in the areas affected by state mandated tests are doing an exceptional job. It takes a great deal of hard work and dedication by teachers and students in order for students to achieve at consistently high levels."

Scores were as follows:

In Gateway math, 305 students took the test and 75% passed, with 40% being proficient and 35% achieving advanced status,

In Gateway language arts, 237 students took the test and 96% passed, with 28% being proficient and 68% achieving advanced status.

In Gateway science, 224 students took the test and 96% passed, with 30% being proficient and 66% achieving advanced status.

Students are required to pass each of the Gateway tests before they can graduate with a regular diploma.

In the end-of-course tests, 95% passed Foundations II, 89% passed English 9, 80% passed Physical Science, and 95% passed American History.

Writing assessment tests are given to 11th graders and are graded on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being the highest. LA's average score improved from an average of 3 the previous school year to an average of 4 for 2004-2005.

For more information about the Livingston Academy testing, call the Livingston Academy administration at (931) 823-5911 or (931) 823-5912 or call the Livingston Academy guidance department at (931) 823-8626.



Unemployment up slightly in Overton County

Overton County's unemployment rate went up .6% in May, rising from 5.2 to 5.8%.

Overton County had 570 unemployed of a workforce of 9,820.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate was 6.2%, up from the April revised rate of 5.8%. County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for May show 31 counties decreased, 45 increased, and 19 remained the same.

Overton County is included in the Cookeville Micropolitan Statistical Area along with Jackson County and Putnam County. The Cookeville MSA had an increase from 5.3% to 5.5 in the unemployment rate. The MSA had 2,690 unemployed of a workforce of 49,070.

Jackson County's unemployment rate lowered from 9.0 to 8.3%. Jackson had 450 unemployed of a workforce of 5,370.

Putnam County's unemployment rate went up from 4.7% to 5.0. Putnam had 1,680 unemployed of a workforce of 33,890. Clay County's unemployment rate lowered from 9.4 to 9.1%. Clay had 330 unemployed of a workforce of 3,690. Pickett County's unemployment rate went up from 7.0 to 7.8%. Pickett had 150 unemployed of a workforce of 1,970. Fentress County's unemployment rate remained at 7.0%. Fentress had 510 unemployed of a workforce of 7,230. For complete labor force estimates, go to www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/may2005county.pdf.

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