By Karen Hall
Special to the Tribune
A $50,000 contribution from AT&T will allow the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board to sustain an important program which was formerly funded by the Department of Education.
A specially prepared giant check was ceremoniously handed over at the SCTWB meeting Wednesday.
"I have never presented a $50,000 check in my entire career," exclaimed Lanie Johnson, regional director for AT&T.
Johnson told the group AT&T has invested over $1.4 billion in Tennessee since 2010 and is in midst of a major infrastructure investment initiative -- Project Velocity IP -- to significantly enhance and expand its wired and wireless networks in Tennessee and across the country in order to meet growing consumer and business demand for wireless and broadband services.
"I wouldn't be here today if not for public policy decisions to encourage business investment in Tennessee," Johnson pointed out.
"Just as the telecommunications industry in our state has changed with the advent of new IP based technologies, our economy in Tennessee is transforming, and employees and job seekers need new skills to keep our economy moving forward," said Johnson. "AT&T is proud to support SCTWB and its mission of developing a well-trained workforce in Southern Middle Tennessee."
"This contribution will be used to support the ongoing work of our Jobs for Tennessee Graduates program through the local career centers and high schools," said Jan McKeel, executive director of SCTWB. "This initiative enhances workforce development, which supports employers and job seekers across our eight county region. Support from the business community ensures we continue to educate our citizens with the skills they need for the jobs that are available today and tomorrow."
The SCTWB's training programs align with AT&T's Aspire initiative -- one of the nation's largest corporate commitments focused on college and career readiness -- and is a reflection of AT&T's continued efforts to improve local communities.
"I want to thank the Board for all you do," said County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett. "We get things like this because of your hard work and dedication. Because of what you do, we had the opportunity to have another ribbon cutting today (Comfort Research). The No. 1 reason they came to Marshall County was 'the people,' and that's the workforce."
State Rep. Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) said, "What AT&T has done here today and throughout the counties I represent has made a great contribution to the communities and the citizens. There are not many who invest so much."
In other business, quarterly recognition awards were presented to Walgreens, employer of the quarter; Project Learn Adult Education of Marshall County, partner of the quarter; and Chris Brindle, youth of the quarter.
The last two awards go hand in hand because Brindle obtained his GED in June, having joined the adult education program in September 2012, when he was 20. Brindle is now employed by a landscaping company in Virginia, but his dream is a career in law enforcement.
"He's really representative of my GED students," said instructor Cookie Tankersley. "He improved his self-confidence so much he feels he can do anything. Thank you so much for partnering in this great endeavor -- it's changing lives!"
The SCTWB serves under the leadership of the South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance, and represents private, public, and community-based partners from Marshall, Maury, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Perry, and Wayne counties.