Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Addresses Northeast Tennessee Workforce Development Group

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  — Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) rallied economic development officials during a morning address in Johnson City, Tennessee today. He was the keynote speaker at the Northeast Tennessee Workforce Investment Board meeting.

He thanked those in attendance for “making Tennessee tops” in economic development and heralded the dawn of an American Renaissance in manufacturing with Tennessee “skating ahead of the puck.”

“During this week in which we anticipate celebrating the 238th Anniversary of our Nation’s birth, the re-birth of American Manufacturing and its role in securing the individual independence which flows from economic freedom, your role in making Tennessee tops in the nation when it comes to economic development and growth in personal income is essential,” said Norris.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and Senator Rusty Crowe were joined by Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips and local elected officials who also attended.

Norris serves on the Tennessee Labor and Workforce Development Board and returned to Tennessee last night after meeting with U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez at the White House yesterday. Perez plans to visit Tennessee later this month.

Norris leads a nationwide workforce development and education initiative, “State Pathways to Prosperity,” at the national Council of State Governments which he chairs. In that capacity, he works with officials from states across the nation which compete with each other for jobs and resources. “It gives me a valuable perspective, and I’m proud of Tennessee.”

Norris anticipates reauthorization of the federal Workforce Investment Act (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) soon. “I met with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), the House sponsor, the week before last in Washington. CSG recognized her good work by bestowing upon her the Sen. Douglas Henry Guardian of Federalism Award.”

Norris contends that passage of the new federal law coupled with implementation and funding of his LEAP initiative (Labor Education Alignment Program) and funding of workforce development grants in Tennessee’s budget are well-timed.

“The state is positioned to take advantage of this opportunity to close the skills gap which otherwise keeps many out of work,” added Norris told the crowd.  “We stand at a critical crossroad of opportunity.  We’re counting on you to seize it.”

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