Governor Haslem Signs realignment of Workforce Areas

LWDASOn May 24th, 2018, Governor Haslem signed off on the recommendation of the State Workforce Board to realign the existing Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDA).  This game changing movement marks the first time the local areas have been realigned since the late 1990s.

The State Board began reviewing the structure of the areas in February when Grundy County requested to move to LWDA 5 to align with the economically thriving Chattanooga region.  This prompted the Board to wonder if it would make more sense for the Workforce areas to align with the Job Base Camps of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

Embracing the regional concept, Commissioner Phillips invited all the county mayors and executives in the state to regional meetings to outline the changes in April.  After the mayors received the proposed changes with support, the State Workforce Board met on May 11th and approved the realignment, sending it to the Governor for final designation.

The current 13 LWDAs will be reconfigured into 9 Job Base Camps.  What does this mean for LWDA 8?  It means that it will be merged with LWDA 9 to form a mega region called the North Middle TN Jobs Base Camp.  The region will be the largest in the State with a population of over 1.929,000!  The new area is a regional economic engine with unprecedented job growth.  Seven of the lowest unemployment rates in the State are in this new region.  Other changes include the merger of LWDA’s 6 and 10, as well as, alignment of area’s 2, 3, and 4.

The merger will require many changes to be made during the next six months.  Immediately, the Mayors of the North Middle Camp will have to meet and elect a new Chief Local Elected Official (CLEO).  Once named, the CLEO will have to appoint a fiscal agent to manage the WIOA funding.  The two Workforce Boards will have to merge through reappointment by the County Mayors and a Board Staff must be hired for the new region.  Again, a lot has to be done in a short amount of time.

How does this effect Workforce Essentials? State policy dictates that One-Stop-Operator and Career Service Provider Contracts must be rebid by this fall.  Based upon what we know now, after the administrative changes have been finalized, it looks like we will be in the proposal writing business again.

What can you do help during the transition?  It’s easy… continuing serving the job seekers and employers that need our help!  The performance of Workforce Essentials staff is the common denominator in the two Workforce regions.  If we are to continue to provide services, we need to put our heads down and continue to charge forward in providing excellent customer service!

The only constant is change… Let’s embrace it and move forward focusing on the positive momentum and opportunity to make the North Middle TN Job Base Camp the best!

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WIOA/ TAA Services to Employers Conference 2018

Marla and AndreaAndrea Dillard and I were asked to present at the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development WIOA/ TAA Conference held in Nashville this week. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Program is a federal program that assists US workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade.  The TAA program seeks to provide these trade-affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, resources, and support they need to become reemployed.

On Wednesday, we presented a total of five sessions.  Over 200 workforce development professionals across Tennessee, as well as representatives from Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina were on hand to learn more about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program.  Andrea and I had the opportunity to share with the group our experience in Robertson County when the Sensata plant closed.  The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development selected Workforce Essentials to pilot a partnership to enhance the delivery of training services at the local level.  Specifically, the State expressed an interest in offering On-the-Job Training opportunities to Sensata workers.  At the conference, we explained the differences between OJTs under WIOA Title I and TAA.  We utilized an interactive software platform to inform our audience through a series of questions and answers.  It was a great event!

Marla W. Rye, President

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WE are Family!

imagesIt is hard to believe that we are two months into 2018 already!  With the implementation of two new contracts and multiple changes occurring in the WIOA Title 1 program, I created the slogan, #WEPositive2018 to emphasize an optimistic attitude and approach toward our work.  It seemed only fitting with the numerous challenges that we are facing, that we tackle our tasks with enthusiasm and a “can do” positive attitude in order to achieve our performance goals.

Little did I know that I would be dealing with my father’s sickness and death in just over 30 days after the start of the new year.  While I’m still committed to #WEPositive2018, your outpouring of love and support through this difficult time has led me to another conclusion:  #WEareFamily

I am forever grateful for my Workforce Essentials family.  You will never know how much I appreciated your prayers, telephone calls, visits, flowers, food, donations, and sympathy cards.  It has reinforced how blessed I am to work with such great people.  Yes, WEareFamily!

Marla Rye, President

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U.S. Army Recognizes Montgomery County with Partnership Award

for wordpressI recently had the very distinct honor of traveling to Washington, DC on behalf of the American Job Center and other Montgomery County dignitaries as well as the Fort Campbell Garrison Command. The article from the Leaf Chronicle is below:

“Fort Campbell and Montgomery County, Tennessee live side-by-side as neighbors and partners. On December 4, Montgomery County was of only seven Army communities worldwide to be recognized in Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Army with an Army Community Partnership Award – an award that celebrates partnerships that enhance Army readiness and strengthens community bonds.

The award, presented by the Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, officially recognized the partnership between Fort Campbell, the American Job Center and Montgomery County, TN for success in connecting more than 11,000 transitioning service members with thousands of post-separation local, national, and international employment opportunities. From fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016, Fort Campbell’s transition assistance employment initiatives have reduced the U.S. Army’s Unemployment Compensation cost by more than $350,000,000, while supporting transitioning service members with their employment needs.

“Supporting service members and their families is a priority in our community. We are honored to receive this award and will continue to assist soldiers in making positive transitions into the civilian job market. The military strengthens our community’s job market and we are indebted to the sacrifices they make.” stated Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett.

Fort Campbell Garrison Commander Colonel Kuchan commented, “This is great formal recognition of what we all do on a day to day basis. Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. Lt. General Gwen Bingham put it best when she said there is nothing that we do on Fort Campbell that we do alone; it’s in partnership with the communities outside of the gates.” Kuchan also mentioned that the tighter the budget becomes, the more important it is to work hand-in-hand with the community.

“Working with transitioning military personnel is a critical component of economic development and is crucial to the continued success of Clarksville-Montgomery County. This award is indicative of the work we do to support our soldiers.” said Marla Rye, president of Workforce Essentials.

Fred Workman, deputy program manager at the Fort Campbell Soldier for Life Program explained, “What sets Fort Campbell apart is our ability to build solid relationships with our service members and the business community. We won the 2016 Connections Award for the highest rate of connections between soldiers and employers and the Department of Defense named our Facebook Page one of the best social media sites in 2017. We consistently host job fairs, large and small, partnering with local, regional and national employers.”

I want to commend each and every one who touches this program in any aspect.  This is a very successful grant thanks to dedicated employees.  I appreciate everyone’s efforts and the wonderful teamwork among partners.  You each are yielding continued success!

Marla W. Rye, President

 

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Performance and hard work pays off!

The Tennessee Department of Human services recently selected Workforce Essentials’ proposal toSuccess deliver Families First services in Middle and West Tennessee.  The procurement process saw competition from local and national workforce agencies.  Congratulations to Natalie McLimore and the entire WorkFirst Team!  Natalie’s outstanding leadership as well as her awesome grant writing skills garnered high scores from the review team.  We also know that none of this would be possible without the experienced and professional staff (you!) that actually delivers services to our customers and their families in the 2Gen model!

The three year contract begins January 1, 2018.  Not only will be delivering services in our current districts (5 & 7), we also applied for one other area and were selected to deliver services in District 6 which covers Davidson County – Nashville!  Competing against multiple national companies, the award is quite the recognition for Workforce Essentials!  I’m proud of the hard work that we have done and will continue to do to help our Families First customers.

Congratulations to the other contractors that were awarded Districts in the procurement.

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Marla W. Rye, President

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