Dr. Jeff Sisk appointed executive director of TBR Center for Workforce Development, prioritizing assistance to business and industry

Dr. Jeff Sisk is new executive director of TBR Center for Workforce Development

Dr. Jeff Sisk, who for nearly three decades has focused on helping students learn the skills necessary to be successful in the workplace, is the newly appointed executive director of the College System of Tennessee’s Center for Workforce Development.

Sisk assumed his new systemwide role after serving 11 years as president of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) at Jackson, where he expanded career and technical education programs, provided dual enrollment opportunities for high school students, established workforce training partnerships with employers, and helped plan the TCAT campus under construction at Ford’s Blue Oval City.

Appointed by Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, Sisk is prioritizing assistance to Tennessee business and industry through several workforce training programs and activities. “Dr. Sisk is uniquely qualified to lead our enhanced Center for Workforce Development. The partnerships he established at TCAT Jackson with industries, local governments and economic development agencies have benefitted our students, employers and communities across West Tennessee. His work was critical in moving our Blue Oval City campus to the construction phase. He hit the ground running in leading the CWD as both a coordinating and operational unit in our mission of student success and workforce development,” Dr. Tydings said.

The chancellor established the TBR Office of Economic and Community Development in 2017, and transitioned it into the Center for Workforce Development in 2020 with an expanded systemwide role. With the Covid-19 pandemic came increased demand for highly skilled workers in fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and professional truck driving. The center assisted our technical and community colleges in partnering with local communities, high schools, and industries to provide training aligned with immediate industry needs, including apprenticeship programs.

“The pandemic’s unprecedented negative impact on the labor pool and employment left Tennessee’s business and industry leaders trying to stay on top of an ever-changing environment and growing competition,” Sisk said. “Invigorated by the need to not only retain and upskill Tennessee’s current workers but to train a new workforce in high-demand areas quickly, TBR’s Center for Workforce Development was reimagined, enhanced and relaunched, and is ready to help.”

Sisk started as an instructor of computer technology at TCAT Jackson in 1996, beginning a career of working with students that has spanned nearly 27 years. He later worked as a student services counselor and information technology network administrator at TCAT Jackson, assistant director and director of TCAT Whiteville, and president of TCAT Jackson. He led the merger of TCAT Whiteville into TCAT Jackson in 2021, and served as interim president of Jackson State Community College in 2019-20 and TCAT Murfreesboro in late 2022. Sisk was a volunteer mentor for high school students applying for Tennessee Promise scholarships, and served on the boards of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations. He served 10 years in the Tennessee Army National Guard.

He earned both a doctorate in higher and adult education and a master's degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Memphis. He holds a bachelor's degree from Lambuth University and an associate degree from Jackson State, both in computer information systems.

In his new role at the Center for Workforce Development, Sisk also collaborates with system leadership and subject-matter experts to develop, deliver and evaluate the system’s economic development effectiveness, and provides strategic support for the colleges’ workforce development offices as we expand our partnerships with business and industry to prepare a competitive workforce across a wide range of occupations. And he collaborates with federal, state and local government entities to support their economic and community development efforts.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.