The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development recently hosted a conference which promoted the new concept of functional alignment in the workforce development system. The event, which was held at the Opryland Hotel, was designed to bring statewide job service and workforce development professionals together to learn about and discuss workforce innovation and promising practices.

The concept of functional alignment was introduced in December when the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development merged its Job Service and Workforce Development programs to form the new Workforce Services Division.  According to Commissioner Karla Davis, the vision behind this alignment is to create a robust workforce system that is responsive to Tennessee job seekers and businesses.  The new configuration maximizes efficiency and synergy between the programs by eliminating duplication of services, leveraging funds, updating processes, and creating overarching standard operating policies and procedures.

The conference featured workshops on a variety of best practices.  I was honored to participate in a segment on Employer Services in LWIA 8 along with Wayne Simple, Marketing Specialist and Warren Schon, Veteran Representative with the Department of Labor.  The session featured how the Montgomery County Career Center staff work together to meet the needs of employers in the region.  Angie Hopkins and Kim Rye do a wonderful job assisting not only employers, but also job seekers in the Center.

I am looking forward to working with our partners as “functional alignment” moves forward in the planning process.  It makes sense that we work together to support the workforce needs in our community!

Marla W. Rye, President