Business, Competitiveness, Education, Health, Policy, Transportation, Workforce

TBR Announces 2019 Policy Priorities

The Tennessee Business Roundtable today announced its 2019 State Policy Priorities, reflecting Roundtable members’ top concerns in the areas of Education & Workforce Development, Health, and Competitiveness & Business Climate.

“When we asked dozens of our state’s executive business leaders about their top policy concerns, they identified fourteen priorities for action by our Roundtable,” said TBR President Pat Sheehy.  “TBR is making these ‘big rocks’ our priorities in working with the incoming Lee Administration and the Tennessee General Assembly to create positive policy change supporting businesses, people and economic growth across our state’s three Grand Divisions.”

Here are the Roundtable’s top policy concerns for this year—click the links to view details about each priority:

Education and Workforce Development

  • Fix Tennessee’s K-12 academic testing—and keep it closely aligned to our state’s academic standards.
  • Keep Tennessee’s hard-won, rigorous K-12 academic standards strong—and keep improving them.
  • Expand the availability of early childhood education programs for Tennessee’s youngest future workers.
  • Accelerate alignment between the K-12 and post-secondary curricula that supply the high-skill, living-wage occupations in greatest demand in Tennessee’s economy.
  • Better-coordinate Tennessee state government’s workforce-development efforts, make them more transparent to those served, and open them up to input from and involvement by our state’s job-creators.

Health

  • Fight the chronic health conditions which prevent too many Tennesseans from participating in and contributing fully to our state’s workforce, and whose costs hurt our economy, through policies that:
    • Empower employers to promote employee health through HSA and health insurance incentives.
    • Promote government-private sector partnerships to address chronic health conditions.
    • Enhance availability of low- or no-cost generic RXs to control chronic health conditions.
    • Increase the number of primary care providers in TN via better payment & opportunities.
    • Reduce regulatory barriers to workplace-based medical facilities.
  • Further expand access to affordable health coverage for working-age Tennesseans.

Competitiveness and Business Climate

  • Make state projects to relieve commercial and commuter highway congestion a top priority for planning, ROW acquisition, engineering, and completion, second only to critical safety repairs.
  • Make Tennessee’s franchise & excise tax rates more competitive with those of other Southeast states.
  • Preserve Tennessee employers’ rights to control firearms and other risks on their property.
  • Protect and improve Tennessee’s Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance programs.
  • Keep Tennessee welcome to all persons who want to contribute to our workforce and economy.
  • Keep Tennessee’s regulatory “playing field” fair for alternative & advanced energy development.
  • Fight the opioid abuse threatening Tennessee’s workforce productivity and business reputation.
Business, Leadership, Policy

Tennessee Business Roundtable Marks 35th Anniversary

Executive business group founded in 1983 hailed by Tennessee Governors for policy leadership

Nashville, TN, December 19, 2018 – Business and political leaders joined the Tennessee Business Roundtable (“TBR”; “the Roundtable”) today in celebrating the nonprofit state business policy organization’s thirty-fifth anniversary by recalling the group’s formation, policy achievements and outlook for the future.

On December 19, 1983, a group of seven prominent state business executives, led by former state Finance Commissioner Bill Sansom, announced the formation of the Roundtable for the purpose of promoting and protecting free enterprise in Tennessee, and held the organization’s first Board meeting. U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville), who was then serving his second term as the 45th Governor of Tennessee, recently recalled the motivations which led to TBR’s establishment:

“I frankly thought that the existing business organizations were too narrowly focused on their own specific interests, which is understandable. But I thought we needed a business organization focused on a broader set of issues which would help make Tennessee a better place to live and work, such as improving our schools and building the best four lane highway system in the country. I asked Bill Sansom of Knoxville, the former finance commissioner, and others to create the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and they did. I’m grateful for all that they’ve done, and I wish them success in the years to come.”

Founded on the belief that Tennessee’s vibrant economic climate is driven by an educated, healthy populace and sound state fiscal policies, the TBR has worked with Alexander, his successors and Tennessee General Assembly leaders to drive pro-business public policies.

“The Tennessee Business Roundtable has been a great partner over the past eight years, helping us implement some groundbreaking policies and programs, such as Drive to 55, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect,” said current Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (R-Knoxville). “I congratulate this important organization on its 35th anniversary and encourage the members to keep providing a voice for Tennessee’s business community in support of public education and other policies that benefit all Tennesseans,” Haslam added.

Now comprised of over fifty companies doing business in over a dozen industry sectors and hailing from all three Grand Divisions of Tennessee, the organization has pursued its Mission of optimizing the quality of life and well-being of all Tennesseans by convening business leaders and strategic thinkers who develop and seek to implement public policies that enhance Tennessee’s vibrant economic climate.

“Over the last thirty-five years, Tennessee has achieved meaningful gains in education, workforce development, and quality of life for its citizens,” observed TBR 2018 Chair Anthony C. Kimbrough, CEO of Farm Bureau Health Plans of Columbia, Tennessee. “Some of that progress has not been easy, and we’re proud that our Roundtable’s proactive voice has made a difference at critical stages of the policy efforts that have produced those gains,” he added.

Kimbrough also pointed to the Roundtable’s unique relationship with executive leaders in Tennessee state government as a key to its success. “Tennessee has been blessed with some strong political thinkers and doers at all levels of government, and we like to think that TBR has played a pivotal role in helping them think and do things that are tremendously helpful to Tennessee.”  Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D-Nashville) endorsed Kimbrough’s sentiments:

“During my eight years as Governor, the Tennessee Business Roundtable was a reliable thought partner on issues ranging from TennCare reform to workers comp reform. I especially appreciated the Roundtable’s focus over the years in education and workforce development. Our partnership in the Tennessee Diploma Project led to higher academic standards in K-12 classrooms across the state — and eventually made Tennessee the fastest-improving state in the history of the Nation’s Report Card. I congratulate the Roundtable’s leadership and membership on 35 years of advancing sound public policies and look forward to seeing how the organization works with Gov.-elect Bill Lee and future governors.”

As the Roundtable marks its thirty-fifth anniversary, Kimbrough says he and TBR’s member executives are firmly focused on achieving the organization’s vision for Tennessee.

“Our state’s future challenges will continue to center around many of the things about which our Roundtable members have always been concerned—quality of life, jobs and economic achievement,” Kimbrough observed. “While the hopes, needs and goals will remain the same, the challenges will present themselves in new ways, so the ways in which our business community contributes toward meeting them must continue to evolve,” he continued, adding, “TBR will bring together a mix of wisdom, business acumen and executive leadership to meet them, and will remain a dynamic force that brings together executives who have Tennessee’s best interests at heart.”

Business, Education

Partners Launch Tennessee Business Fund for Public Education

Partners Launch Tennessee Business Fund for Public Education
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA), the Tennessee Business Roundtable (TBR) and the American Public Education Foundation (APEF) are proud to announce the launch of the Tennessee Business Fund for Public Education (TBFPE).

The new charitable Fund will directly support the creation of programs in public schools that lead to postsecondary success and career opportunities for students, while giving businesses the opportunity to develop a future ready workforce.  Through the Fund, Tennessee businesses and individuals will be empowered to create grant opportunities for public school districts in four career-connected focus areas:

  1. courses and programs that provide postsecondary credit, national industry certifications, and credentials;
  2. literacy;
  3.  character education; and
  4. health.

“We are very excited about the Fund and believe this will help prepare students for their future careers. School districts will be able to meet the needs of their community and create lasting partnerships with local and regional businesses,” said TSBA President and Campbell County Board Member Faye Heatherly.

“This Fund will provide Tennessee’s businesses a unique opportunity to positively influence the future of our workforce through direct partnerships with our public schools,” said William A. “Tinker” Kelly, CEO of Voluntary Employee Benefit Advisors and 2018 Vice-Chair of the Tennessee Business Roundtable. “By donating funds to assist a single school, to support one or more school districts, or on an unrestricted basis, this Fund allows businesses of any size to take an active role in building a talent pipeline,” he added.

Over the last eight months, TSBA, TBR, and the APEF have worked together to create a partnership that creates a way for Tennessee’s entire business community to actively support the development of career focused programs for students. Through the Fund, which will operate under the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) American Public Education Foundation, contributing businesses and individuals will gain the ability to support all four career-connected focus areas, or to focus on a specific program to meet a particular need in their community.

The APEF will provide all administrative functions for the Fund, including legal, accounting and Internal Revenue Code compliance, and financial oversight. This will ensure transparency, accountability, and the knowledge that the Tennessee BusinessFund for Public Education is empowering students and creating a future ready workforce.

“We are living in times of exponential change. We are today preparing our students for jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been invented, solving problems that we don’t yet realize are problems,” said APEF President David A. Pickler. “The American Public Education Foundation is proud to be a partner in this collective vision for Tennessee’s economic future. This collaboration in workforce development will be an essential ingredient in achieving a future which will empower Tennessee to fulfill its potential for economic growth and quality of life for its citizens,” he added.

For more information about the Fund, contact TSBA at (615) 815-3900 or TBR at (615) 255-5877.

–end–

About the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) – www.tsba.net
The Tennessee School Boards Association is a state wide, nonprofit organization of school boards throughout Tennessee. TSBA’s mission is to assist school boards in effectively governing school districts. Through the years, TSBA has helped school boards and their members reach their highest potential through Association programs, meetings and services. TSBA also provides school board members with a collective voice in matters of legislation and public education concerns. For more information about TSBA, visit our website at: www.tsba.net.

About the Tennessee Business Roundtable (TBR) – www.tbroundtable.org
To optimize the quality of life and well-being of all Tennesseans, the Tennessee Business Roundtable develops and seeks to implement public policies which enhance our state’s vibrant economic climate. Founded by prominent Tennessee business leaders in 1983, and dedicated to the belief that an educated, healthy populace and sound state fiscal policies are the primary drivers of Tennessee’s vibrant economy, TBR seeks to be the most respected & influential policy voice for Tennessee’s business community.

About the American Public Education Foundation (APEF) –www.theapef.org
The American Public Education Foundation partners with public school advocates from all walks of life – lawmakers, leaders, and ordinary Americans – to “keep the American Dream alive” for our nation’s K-12 students. We believe that high-quality public education is the pathway to a stronger America. The American Public Education Foundation centers our efforts on three areas that complement classroom instruction and catalyze student achievement: innovation, leadership, and service learning. Our foundation passionately and profoundly believes in the power of public education.”

Business, Policy, US

Roundtable, NFIB, Chamber Co-Host 2018 U.S. Senate Forum with Blackburn, Bredesen

The Tennessee Business Roundtable, in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber and NFIB, hosted a 2018 U.S. Senate Forum at Lipscomb University’s College of Business on August 15, 2018, focusing on federal policy issues affecting our state’s business community.

Candidates Marsha Blackburn (R) and Phil Bredesen (D) answered questions posed by moderator Ben Hall of NewsChannel5 on tariffs, health care, infrastructure, taxes, and regulatory policy. The event was live streamed by NewsChannel5+ and can be viewed here.

Marsha Blackburn and Ben Hall
Phil Bredesen and Ben Hall
From left to right: Ben Hall, NewsChannel5; Jim Brown, NFIB; Patrick Sheehy, TN Business Roundtable; Bradley Jackson, TN Chamber of Commerce & Industry

“Our Roundtable convenes Tennessee business leaders to provoke productive conversations on business and policy matters, and in presenting this Forum, we were pleased to join with our fellow statewide business organizations to begin the general election conversation on Tennessee’s 2018 United States Senate race with candidates Blackburn and Bredesen,” said TBR President Patrick Sheehy (pictured right). 

“Great teamwork by Tennessee NFIB, the Tennessee Chamber and TBR allowed our state business leaders to hear directly from the candidates on trade, regulatory, health, infrastructure, and tax issues that affect our state’s economy and workforce.  We’re grateful to Lipscomb University for allowing our Roundtable, the Chamber and NFIB to provide this opportunity for our business community, and to Ben Hall and NewsChannel 5 for partnering with us to deliver an informative, timely event.”

Business, Competitiveness, Education, Workforce

New Industry Certifications & WBL Grants

Last week, in response to input from the business community the Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced 21 new industry certification options for Tennessee students in order to prepare them for the state’s most in-demand industry sectors.

These new additions bring the number of recognized industry certifications up to 80, with 46 of them being aligned with specific CTE programs of study. 

Read more about the new certifications here

See a list of the 2018/2019 promoted industry certifications here

 

The Department of Economic Development also made a significant workforce development announcement when they released 10 work-based learning grants totaling $250,000.  These grants were awarded to LEAs in order to “promote community-led work-based learning to improve career awareness and readiness of students and improve local/regional talent pipeline.”

Second round winners included:

  • Anderson County Schools – Anderson County
  • Oak Ridge Schools – Anderson County
  • Claiborne County School District – Claiborne County
  • Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools – Davidson County
  • DeKalb County Board of Education – DeKalb County
  • Dyer County Schools – Dyer County
  • Dyersburg City Schools – Dyer County
  • Hamblen County Schools – Hamblen County
  • Marion County Board of Education – Marion County
  • Monroe County Schools – Monroe County

In January, 29 first round recipients won grants totaling more than $710,000 top expand work-based learning efforts in their schools and communities. The Roundtable was pleased to participate in the review of applications, and congratulates all first and second round winners.

Business, Membership

TBR Members in the News

Business, Competitiveness, Policy, Taxes

Tennessee Business Roundtable Calls for Pro-Business, Pro-Worker Federal Tax Policy Reform

Executive business group names Hamilton-Ryker co-founder McCreight to chair Policy Committee

Nashville, TN, October 24, 2017:  The Tennessee Business Roundtable (TBR) today joined a growing chorus of pro-growth organizations in calling upon the 115th Congress to enact meaningful federal tax reforms that deliver real relief to Tennessee businesses and wage-earners.

The Tennessee Business Roundtable favors changes to our nation’s current tax system that promote the growth of Tennessee’s economy, and the well-being and success of Tennessee families. Continue reading

Business, Membership

TBR Members in the News