Retraining Workers for New Jobs and New Lives After Prison and Addiction

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The county also has a manufacturing economy. BSH Home Appliance Corp., has manufactured Thermador ranges and ovens at its plant in LaFollette for more than 20 years. Including a cooking technology center in Caryville, Tenn., the company employs more than 330 people, according to a spokesman, Joe Foster.

Recently, another native, Rick Teague, in partnership with a German company, formed Telos Global, based in Caryville, which specializes in press-hardened steel and aluminum stampings used in the automotive industry. As a new company, its work force largely consists of engineers, but as he rolls out production, he hopes to follow Mr. Simpson’s lead and train and employ some coming out of jail. In September, Mr. Teague’s European account manager came to Campbell County to tour the local vocational school, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, to determine if the school could train future employees.

Mr. Simpson also has bigger plans for his company and his program. He and his cousin Keith Simpson recently acquired Dyna Hauler, which will produce equipment, known as the DynaDolly, used to transport shipping containers in lieu of a flatbed truck. With those containers increasingly being put to use for houses and offices, there’s a need to move them more easily, Mr. Simpson explained. To produce this new line, he is refurbishing an abandoned factory in Jellico, Tenn., perhaps the poorest municipality in the county. That factory, when up and running, will employ 100 people.

Professor Murray said, they’re “trying to create their own work force, which is very noble. It is, however, a risky and costly endeavor.” So far, the risks have been manageable. The costs are significant: Tony Simpson says he has personally invested more than $500,000 to get the New Beginning program up and running.

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