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, 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.

Education, Workforce

TN ECD Apprenticeship Listening Tour

Our Roundtable is partnering with the TN Dept. of Economic & Community Development (ECD) this spring to engage with employers on apprenticeships throughout Tennessee.  This partnership with ECD is one of the principal ways in which our Roundtable is actively pursuing the following objective during 2018:

To secure the skilled and productive workforce needed to sustain and grow Tennessee’s economy, TBR actively supports innovative collaboration between businesses, governments, schools, and communities to create and improve Early Post-Secondary Opportunities (EPSOs), work-based learning programs, and apprenticeship programs that are strongly aligned to our state’s current and future workforce needs. 

Beginning at a series of regional two-hour sessions at five locations this month, ECD, TBR and other partners will engage stakeholders to:

  • Develop a shared understanding of the value of apprenticeships in workforce development;
  • Inventory existing apprenticeship efforts;
  • Identify and develop apprenticeship best practices; and
  • Achieve consensus on how all TN stakeholders will work together to increase the quality, value and availability of apprenticeships in our state.

The ECD Apprenticeship Listening Tour schedule:

  1. TCAT Smyrna – Tuesday, March 13, 9:30-11:30am CDT
  2. Jackson State Comm. College – Monday, March 19, 9:00-11:00am CDT
  3. Southwest State Comm. College, Memphis – Monday, March 19, 2:00-4:00pm CDT
  4. RCAM, Kingsport – Tuesday, March 27, 8:30-10:30am EDT
  5. TCAT Athens – Tuesday, March 27, 2:30-4:30pm EDT

Action Steps for TBR Members & other interested organizations:

  • See today’s TN ECD Press Release (below; also attached PDF) for additional details.
  • Click HERE to complete your complimentary registration for a tour session near you.
  • Save the Date:  TN ECD’s Apprenticeship Summit – Tuesday, May 22, Nelson Andrews Leadership Lodge, Nashville
Education, Leadership, Workforce

Tennessee Business Leaders Honor Governor Bill Haslam with Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award

Haslam Becomes Just Sixth Leader Recognized by Roundtable for Education Contributions to Tennessee

Gov. Bill Haslam (left) on Feb. 1 received the Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award from 2018 Tennessee Business Roundtable Chair Anthony Kimbrough (right), CEO of Farm Bureau Health Plans.

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, the Tennessee Business Roundtable (“TBR”; “the Roundtable”) presented its Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award to Governor Bill Haslam at its 2018 Annual Meeting, in recognition of Haslam’s enduring contributions toward excellence in public education throughout his tenure as Tennessee’s Governor.

“This is only the sixth time our leadership has voted to bestow this award since its creation in 2008,” said 2018 TBR Chair Anthony Kimbrough (CEO, Farm Bureau Health Plans, Columbia, Tenn.).  “It’s one thing to be a voice for education, as most political and community leaders claim to be. It’s quite another to pair the voice with real and lasting action. Governor Haslam has done exactly that, and the list of accomplishments during his tenure as governor will help re-write the history of education in our state.”

Above: TBR Chair Anthony Kimbrough presents Governor Haslam with the Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award.

Right: Governor Haslam addresses TBR’s 2018 Annual Meeting after receiving TBR’s Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award.

During his tenure as Governor, Haslam has prioritized education reforms year upon year.  After launching the Drive to 55 initiative, aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary credentials, Haslam spearheaded the Tennessee Promise and Reconnect initiatives, which have respectively expanded the financial resources available to Tennessee’s traditional students and adult learners in pursuit of postsecondary credentials.

“Under Governor Haslam’s leadership, Tennessee’s public education systems have implemented a range of innovative programs that are now getting more of our students better-prepared for today’s workforce,” said Gordon Fee, the longtime education advocate and TBR leader from Oak Ridge, Tenn. for whom the Award is named.  “These programs are clearly making a difference. I can think of no one more deserving of this Leadership in Education Award than Bill Haslam.”

"It’s one thing to be a voice for education, as most political and community leaders claim to be. It’s quite another to pair the voice with real and lasting action. Governor Haslam has done exactly that."
Anthony Kimbrough
TBR Chair

Other successful Haslam administration education initiatives include the SAILS program to reduce the need for remedial math classes, Read to be Ready to boost 3rd grade literacy, and revised Tennessee Academic Standards which raise expectations for students across the state.

“Governor Haslam applied incredible insight in first recognizing that sustaining the success of our state’s economy and communities requires a much greater rate of post-secondary attainment among Tennesseans, then developing a well-designed plan to meet that need—the Drive to 55 initiative,” said Margaret O. Dolan (President & CEO, LocalShares, LLC, Nashville, Tenn.), TBR’s immediate past Chair.  “The strategic integration of the Tennessee Promise, Tennessee Reconnect, AdviseTN, and other components give more Tennesseans real opportunities to attain postsecondary credentials, no matter their age, life stage, or financial situation.  Governor Haslam has made this work to boost economic prosperity for all a priority throughout his service to our state.”

ABOUT THE GORDON FEE LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION AWARD

The Roundtable’s Leadership in Education Award is named for Gordon G. Fee of Oak Ridge, Tenn., a longtime member of the Roundtable and champion for public education. Fee is a past President of Lockheed Martin Energy Systems and plant manager of the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge. The award serves as an ongoing tribute to Fee as the Roundtable’s longest-serving Education Committee Chair from 1992 through 2015.  In this capacity, Gordon tirelessly championed the Roundtable’s education initiatives by serving in many leadership roles, including being the first volunteer executive in the State Department of Education.

Prior recipients of the Gordon Fee Leadership in Education Award include:

  • Gordon G. Fee, retired President, Lockheed Martin Energy Systems, 2008
  • Michael Edwards, President/CEO, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, 2009
  • Governor Phil Bredesen, 2010
  • Richard Montgomery, former TN St. Rep. and TN House Education Chairman, 2012
  • Randy Boyd, CEO, Radio Systems Corporation, 2014
Gordon G. Fee