More than 250 college, business, industry and state leaders gather for Tennessee Workforce Convening

Governor Lee addresses Tennessee Workforce Convening

More than 250 leaders from business and industry and Tennessee’s public community and technical colleges gathered at Volunteer State Community College to strengthen communication and collaboration and enhance the development of career and technical education programs.

The first Tennessee Workforce Convening was hosted Monday, April 22, by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD). The conference’s overarching goal was to learn more from business and industry leaders about how the state’s community colleges and colleges of applied technology and the state agencies can help better prepare students, for the workforce and their own economic mobility.

Governor Bill Lee, TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, TNECD Commissioner Stuart McWhorter and TDLWD Commissioner Deniece Thomas addressed the participants, highlighting the many workforce training programs and initiatives that already exist and inviting more collaboration to expand career opportunities for Tennesseans and growth for business and industry. College System of Tennessee initiatives highlighted include the TBR Center for Apprenticeship and the TBR Center for Workforce Development.

Executives of leading Tennessee industries across six major sectors critical to the state’s economy – advanced manufacturing, agriculture, business, health care, information technology, and transportation/logistics – met in small groups with college, TBR system and department leaders to provide feedback on how the colleges and agencies can help further prepare students and existing employees for high-demand careers.

TBR Chancellor Flora Tydings addresses TN Workforce Convening

“We had a large attendance, engaged very constructively, and received a lot of positive feedback and recommendations – all supporting our systemwide mission of student success and workforce development,” Chancellor Tydings said. “I want to thank the industry leaders who took the time out of their busy schedules to participate. I’m also grateful to Governor Lee, Commissioner McWhorter and Commissioner Thomas for their collaboration and support in making the conference a success.”

TNECD Commissioner Stuart C. McWhorter at TN Workforce Convening

“Workforce is a critical part of how we compete as a state. Along with infrastructure, energy and utilities, workforce is one of the essential investments that need to be made, and we have a governor who gets it,” Commissioner McWhorter said. “Engagement, collaboration, building trust is what we do in Tennessee. We all work together and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

TNDLWD Commissioner Deniece Thomas speaks at TN Workforce Convening

Commissioner Thomas outlined her department’s work in helping Tennesseans and employers connect, including the Youth Employment Program, Apprenticeship TN, the Tennessee Office of Reentry, and career services to veterans experiencing barriers to employment.



For more information on the TBR Center for Workforce Development:

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.