Clarksville AJC featured on Workforce GPS

46aed689-649d-4e08-95a4-5d5d814823b6Training and technical assistance is vitally important as we implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.  The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration has development a portal of resources available for state and local workforce agencies to utilize called WorkforceGPS.   (

An innovative approach to training, Workforce GPS features WIOA Wednesday which is an interactive webinar that features a specific WIOA topic. The Clarksville American Job Center (AJC) was selected to present on March 1st to a national audience!

The topic for discussion was Implementing Comprehensive, Affiliate, and Co-location Requirements Uder WIOA.


ee8486bf-af6a-47cd-8518-247768aa2147This webinar highlighted key Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) provisions for operating comprehensive, affiliate, and specialized sites in the American Job Center network.  It also discussed the new co-location requirements contained in WIOA.  Presenters shared State and local experiences on the approaches and strategies they are using to overcome barriers and embrace opportunities for building integrated service delivery models to effectively serve area job seekers and employers.

The awesome team from Tennessee consisted of Natalie McLimore and John Alexander.  I had the privilege of being in their company to talk about the functional alignment of our AJC system.  I may be a little bias, but the audience feedback confirmed that our centers are models of excellence!  You can download our presentation on

Additional Moderators and Presenters included:

Charlotte Harris, Workforce Analyst, Policy Unit, Office of Workforce Investment, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Winston Tompoe, Director, Office of State Systems, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Region 3

Larry Burns, Re-employment Coordinator, Office of Unemployment, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration

Howard Feldstein, Director, Arlington Employment Center

If you are not a member of WorkforceGPS, please sign up today.  The resources are invaluable, and the learning opportunities are immense. 

Marla Rye, President

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First Adult Education Graduation Held for Davidson County


I’m not sure how you spent your evening this past Friday, but I must share that mine was simply incredible!  My evening was exceptional, because I was afforded the opportunity to witness the first graduating adult education class from Davidson County!  This was the first official graduation since becoming a contractor with the State.

The ceremony, entitled ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, was held at Trevecca Nazarene University located in Nashville. District Director Christina Drones and Assistant District Directors Kathryn Bonecutter and Adam Sones were on hand along with Davidson County instructors and staff.  After the official Pomp and Circumstance, fellow student Jassie Ford was encouraged by her classmates as she sang the National Anthem.  Master of Ceremonies Adam Sones welcomed the graduates, and photos of all the graduates were displayed on two large screens.  Director of Program Outreach for the TN Division of Adult Education Dee Johnson gave the commencement address before the presentation of graduates. There were a total of 45 graduates walking the line.

I had a chance to visit with the graduates before the ceremony began. The soon-to-be graduates were filled with excitement, pride, and a sense of accomplishment as their realization of receiving a diploma was about to come to fruition.  Families and loved ones filled the auditorium anxiously waiting for the ceremony to begin.  In speaking with family members, I heard stories of sacrifice and the many challenges that were overcome.  I believe the loved ones were just as excited as the actual graduates about to take the stage.  You’ve heard the quote, “It takes a village”… It truly does.  And so when these graduates finally took the stage, it sincerely affected more than just the students.  It touched the moms and dads, the husbands and wives, the sons and daughters, the instructors and staff, and myself.  Think back to your high school graduation and remember how proud you were at that time.  For most of these graduates, they were so scared to take that first step.  Our staff has helped these individuals to become excited about learning, and they truly felt cared for as a student.  They were assured that they could take on this personal accomplishment and could truly understand that “The Best is Yet to Come’!

And when I thought the evening could not get any better, we were all surprised by a marriage proposal to one of the graduates. She said YES!

Marketing Specialist Kim Robertson captured photos from the event, and I am sharing a few of those below.  Take a moment to visit our Face Book page to view all the graduates and the entire ceremony at

I encourage you to attend one of our upcoming graduations; it’s a great way to warm your soul!  I’m certainly proud of these first AE graduates, and I’m equally proud of our AE Team in District 5.

Keep up the great work of changing lives one diploma at a time!


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Governor’s Conference Celebrates Team Tennessee!


Gov. Bill Haslam and TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd, along with  state and local officials, business executives, and economic & workforce development professionals convened last week in Nashville to learn more about Team Tennessee’s innovative game plan and strategy to make Tennessee the number 1 state in the southeast in new job development.

The two-day agenda was packed with valuable information on recruitment of new industries and featured recent announcements of Stony Creek Colors and Lowes Fulfillment Center in Robertson County.  In addition to recruitment, rural development was a hot topic in which the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development is investing resources to recruit new job opportunities to our rural communities.

Last, but not least, the Tennessee Department of Labor was featured as a valuable member of Team Tennessee!  Sterling van der Spuy and Deniece Thomas presented information on the services and benefits of the American Job Center (AJC) and the role of Labor in recruitment and economic development.   

It was a great two days of celebrating the success of Team Tennessee and the new jobs that have been created to put the most people ever to work in the great state of Tennessee!  The accomplishment earned the State of the Year for Economic Development by the Southern Business and Development Magazine!  It is a honor know that our work in the AJC’s played a part in this accomplishment.  Rest assured that workforce development is a vital component of economic development!


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Workforce Essentials celebrates success by challenging staff to TRY DIFFERENT, NOT HARDER!

dsc_0068Workforce Essentials held its annual staff development and training at Old Glory in Clarksville.  The event, organized to celebrate employee successes in 2015-2016, encompassed a theme to Try Different, Not Harder.  A great time was had by all, as we welcomed our new Adult Education District Staff and paraprofessionals to the event for the first time. 

The theme represented embracing change within the organization.  Karl Schoemer said it best in his book, “In the old environment, there was time to adjust. People had the chance to get comfortable, to work through their resistance to changes occurring around them.  Now, in today’s world if you aren’t adapting to change and constantly recreating yourself or your organization, you are following behind or losing your competitive advantage. He states, “Look around. There are people in your organization, in your department, maybe even in the same job, who are thriving on all this change.  If they have adjusted and you haven’t, who is at risk?  Who is vulnerable?  Who is unhappy? Embrace change and Take Charge of your happiness!

All employees were challenged to Try Different, Not Harder to improve themselves and the organization.  Guest speaker, Derek Young brought this message home in his heartfelt presentation.  The highlight of the day was recognizing and rewarding Workforce Essentials’ outstanding employees for their workforce development contributions.  I congratulate all of the nominees and the winners !

Marla W. Rye

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101 Jobs for the 101st!

Fort Campbell Soldier Transition Program Highlighted in Washington

Staff members John Clement, CW3 (R) and Charlie Koon were asked to present at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) Veterans conference last week in Washington, DC.  The conference theme was “Serving Those Who Served,” which reflects the commitment and dedication to honoring the men and women who have defended our country, along with supporting their families.  l-r :  John Clement, Fort Campbell Soldier Transition Program Coordinator, Workforce Essentials;  Linda Rouse, Veterans Program Manager, Iowa;  Paul Stephens, Chief, Veterans Services, Oklahoma; Charlie Koon, Director of Workforce & Economic Development, Workforce Essentials; and William Moore, Program Delivery Manager, Ohio NASWA Conference in DC August 2016

John and Charlie represented the great state of Tennessee and detailed “101 Jobs for the 101st”.  This Fort Campbell Soldier Transition Program has been highly successful since the program officially began in February 2016.  Our goal for this grant was to recruit 101 transitioning soldiers per year for a total of 202 during the grant’s two-year life span.  At the rate in which we are enrolling individuals now, we will definitely surpass this number.  To date, we have enrolled over 200 individuals, placing 50+ into work at an average wage of $24.42.  A few of the employers who have hired individuals participating in the program are Akebono, Commercial Installation, and Hankook Tire.  Montgomery County EMS has also taken advantage by using the Army medic training as preparation for civilian work in their quest for finding qualified individuals.

The mission of the program is to educate and inform transitioning soldiers of the regional job market while ensuring that employers are accessing the valuable labor market.  Also, sharing Promising Practices at the conference alongside John and Charlie were representatives from Ohio, Oklahoma, and Iowa.  “Veteran Business Support Center, Oklahoma Military Initiative, and Integrated Resource Teams” were discussed respectively.

635877826354047599-ClementCopterAs Program Coordinator, John stays actively engaged speaking with soldiers and enrolling them into the program on a daily basis.  There is always a constant flow of soldiers coming and going from his office, and he is often teased about the number of ‘steps’ he has walked each day.  Every Wednesday, you will find John at the Fort Campbell Soldier for Life Job Fair where he meets with new transitioning soldiers that are just entering their job search.  John has done an exceptional job, and one reason the program has been so successful is because he understands not only the Army lingo, but he is able to empathize with those transitioning into civilian life.  John is very passionate about the program, serving 21 years in the Army himself, he strives to make the change for soldiers and their families as smooth as possible.  At the end of the day, John says that the personal satisfaction of knowing that he has helped just one individual and his/her family is so rewarding.  For more information about this program, please call John Clement at 931.905.6554.


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