Inside Workforce Development, a statewide summit hosted by the Tennessee Department of Labor was held on May 13-15 in Nashville.

FullSizeRender (9)Commissioner Burns Phillips and Governor Haslam kicked the event off on Wednesday afternoon challenging summit participants to align partner programs and agencies toward the mission of integrating workforce development in Tennessee. Leading by example, the Governor’s Workforce Sub-Cabinet, including Commissioner Randy Boyd (ECD), Commissioner Candice McQueen (Education), Chancellor John Morgan (TBR), Mr. Russ Deaton (THEC), Commissioner Raquel Hatter (DHS) and Commissioner Phillips highlighted the summit with an in-depth discussion on alignment and priorities of each Department toward the workforce.

Especially exciting for me, I was asked to participate on two panel discussions on Thursday.

The first was entitled “Making Workforce Connections”.  I was honored to present with TCAT Director, Arrita Summers of Dickson.  We highlighted specific examples of partnerships between Workforce Essentials and the TCAT to increase the technical skills of our student learners.

The second panel, “Addressing the Needs of Tennessee Business” was awesome.  Along with two of my workforce peers, the panel was comprised of representatives from Hankook Tire, Eastman Chemical and Jackson Memorial Hospital. Deanna Moore, Recruiting specialist from Hankook Tire informed the audience of assistance that the local Career Center had provided Hankook during their startup in Clarksville.

Wrapping up on Friday, a rapid fire session of workforce partners detailed specifics of their programs including Drive to 55, Career Pathways, Adult Education, Veterans Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and the Apprenticeship Bureau.

Inside Workforce Development was an insightful and beneficial kickoff to the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  Tennessee is aligned and ready for the challenge thanks to the foresight of Commissioner Phillips and Governor Haslam.  Many thanks to them for leading the way to prosperity in Tennessee through aligned Workforce Services!FullSizeRender (8)

Marla W. Rye, President