aH2v54tWow….Can you believe that 2014 is coming to a close? I blinked once, and the year has gone.  Reflecting back over the last 12 months, it has been one of anticipation, excitement, and change for Workforce Essentials.  I commemorate the successful year by highlighting some of the memorable events:

LWIA 8 was honored again as one of the highest performing Workforce Areas by earning the most incentive dollars in the State.

Economic Development in the region captured attention with the announcements of Hankook Tire, Dal-Tile, and Beretta.  The Tennessee Department of Labor awarded WEI a grant to hire a Regional Workforce Development Coordinator to serve as a liaison with the companies.  We welcomed Charlie Koon to the Workforce Essentials Team.

The Staff of the DEI grant led the state and was one of the top workforce employment networks in the country in the Social Security Administration’s Ticket-to-Work program.

Through the assistance of Renee and her team, the WIA staff successfully converted to a new data management system, SalesForce.  In addition, the staff recently trained and is in the process of implementing the new state system, VOS.  Thanks to Maria Figueroa, who served as a trainer for the State.

This fall was highlighted by the award of the Families First Contract for another three year period.  Special recognition to Natalie and her team for writing a successful proposal and preparing for implementation of the new project on January 1. 

We welcomed the 14 new Families First staff members to the Workforce Essentials Team!

Sumner County staff, along with Vol State, hosted a Beretta Information Fair, attracting over 2000 people in attendance.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another successful employee retreat was conducted in August and congratulate all of the outstanding employees that were recognized for their service. 

Our Business Service Division is experiencing another banner year with drug testing numbers shooting through the roof.  However, the lighted Driver’s Ed car with the “walking” presents may be the highlight of the BSD year!

The North Tennessee Workforce Board received a $990,000 grant to start new Mechatronics Training programs through LEAP Funding!

Our Adult Education program was highlighted at a recent State Workforce Development Board meeting as a collaborative partnership with the WIA program.  The Robertson County Jail graduation ceremony was memorable for the AE graduates.

Last, but certainly not the least in 2014 is the completion and move to the Workforce Center in Clarksville!  Many thanks to John Watz for his dedication and commitment to the successful project.  We have a home to be proud of! 

As 2014 comes to a close, the future is bright for Workforce Essentials.  I know that 2015 will be a year of excitement with the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act!  One thing is for certain with Workforce Essentials….Change is imminent, so enjoy the ride!

I hope that you and your family have a blessed and Merry Christmas.  

Marla W. Rye, President