JECDB meeting held at Marshall Medical Center this week
By Ivory Riner
The Joint Economic Community Development Full Board met on Tuesday at Marshall Medical Center. Phyllis Brown provided a delicious luncheon and started the meeting with an update on the hospital. She mentioned that, currently, the medical center employs 153 people, several of whom earned their associate's degree locally at Columbia State Community College, and some who are master's degree prepared.
New guests in attendance were Mark Graves, Town of Chapel Hill Administrator; Shanna Jackson, Dean of Extended Services and Williamson campus, CSCC; Terri Kinloch, Director of Workforce Development; Don McLain and Phil Bolander, Town of Petersburg Aldermen; Stephen Webb, Business Services Manager for the South Central TennesseeWorkforce Alliance; and Ruth McLean, who is the mother of District 3 County Commissioner Anna Childress.
Mike Wiles, JECDB executive director, went over past and future plans and activities for Marshall County. To improve the workforce locally, the Career Technical Student Organization, through Spot Lowe, with funds from Tennessee's ThreeStar program, will now provide an after-school program which helps students with contest preparation and offers them work-based learning with internships within the community and community-service projects for the students enrolled in Tennesseee Promise. Improvements are underway with the agriculture committee and a health and retiree council.
Events like the Octoberfest, Manufacturers Day held at Marshall County High School, Ghostly Gathering at the Rec Center, Mid Day Melodies at the Public Square Park, Chamber Annual Dinner at Henry Horton State Park, and the Christmas tree lighting ceremony over the weekend are all Wiles' and the committee's plans to get the community out and doing things around town. He is currently looking for people who would be interested in taking part in the Events Square Event Committee, an organization that will promote downtown activities.
Stephen Webb spoke about the Workforce Alliance's workforce awareness day, "On My Own." For this program, Maury County middle schoolers were given a scenario on how old they were, how much their monthly salary was, and how many children they had. The students then had to walk around to different booths and calculate how much money they had to spend on groceries and other things after deducting their bills for the month. The students learn that the kind of job they can get with only a high-school education is not going to pay enough for them to have luxuries like a boat, a new truck or a place on the lake. Wiles and Lyn Stacey, Career Technical Director, attended one of the three days of this event, looking at how to bring this to Marshall County.
New Civil War Trail signs were installed in Farmington and at the Nathan Bedford Forest Home in Chapel Hill. A date to unveil the signs will be announced soon. Wiles is currently working on having smaller unicorporated communities like Farmington, Berlin, Verona, and Delina recognized.
An update on the Tennessee Promise was given. Cornersville High School had 62 of their 81 seniors enroll in the program and 13 people sign up to be mentors; Forrest High School had 72 of 100 seniors enroll and six mentors, and MCHS had 149 of 185 seniors and 29 mentors. Statewide, 56,000 seniors are in the new program with 9,200 mentors.
The meeting ended with the new JECDB 2015 Action Items reviewed. Plans involve improvement of affordable high-speed Internet for the whole county, upgrading and improving Henry Horton State Park, improving workforce development and job placement, adding a gas line infrastructure in Cornersville and the south end of the county, and recruiting retail.
The next JECDB meeting will be held on March 10.