Business, Education

TBR Work-Based Learning Summit: A “Home Run” for TN Workforce Development

On Oct. 11th, the Roundtable convened a statewide Summit meeting of 140 business and education leaders to discuss the use of Work-Based Learning (WBL) at the high school level as a way of enriching the talent pipeline into high-need industries across the state. Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Randy Boyd, Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen, and Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Burns Phillips participated in the event to share the importance of WBL from each Department’s perspective.

The Summit’s panel discussions showcased several subject matter experts, businesses and non-company “connectors” who delivered key knowledge and insights about successful use of WBL to Summit attendees.  Many TBR members made substantial content contributions:

  • TBR members Saint Thomas Health and Volkswagen shared their experiences of working with high school students during the Summit’s “Tennessee Companies” panel, highlighting both the benefits and the challenges their businesses face in working with minors.
  • Kyle Southern, Director of Policy & Research at TBR member SCORE, moderated the “Companies” panel.
  • TBR Treasurer Zan Blue (Constangy, Brooks, Smith, and Prophete, LLP) headed the Summit’s “Addressing Employee Concerns” panel, which discussed concerns shared by businesses working with youths–and approaches to overcoming them.

“The Work Based Learning Summit was a smashing success,” Blue remarked. “We convened leaders from state government, the education community and the business community for a full day discussion of how we can work together in concrete, measureable and observable ways to produce high school graduates who know how to do something useful and have marketable skills.

“We can create a world class workforce here in Tennessee, and this event was a significant step in that direction,” Blue added. “Patrick and Cassie did a great job, and our Board members were conspicuously present for the event.”

Ralph Schulz (Nashville Chamber of Commerce) was among the TBR Board members in attendance. “The Work Based Learning Summit was extraordinarily valuable,” Schulz declared.  “The content experts were exceptional, the audience was a great collection of leaders who can act on the information provided, and the top-quality leadership engagement by three State of Tennessee Commissioners was compelling,” he continued, adding, “This was so compellingly constructed and executed that every minute was valuable and its length was justified. Congratulations to TBR and all parties on one of the most substantial summits I’ve ever attended.”
“It was important for TBR to re-introduce itself as a leader at the intersection of business and education policy,” said TBR President Pat Sheehy. “Thanks to the efforts of our staff, members, vendors, sponsors, and thought partners, this Summit delivered that.”