On Thursday, July 18 from 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the East Tennessee Workforce Summit. The event will be held at Pollard Technology Conference Center at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, 210 Badger Avenue. The one-day summit will feature employers, education providers and policy makers sharing their insights and vision into how technology, automation, and generational trends will change the very nature of work and alter the skills needed in the modern workforce. The gap between workforce needs and workforce supply will be discussed and strategies to bridge the gap will be identified during the full day of panel discussions and speakers.
“The primary purpose of the summit is to give employers, education providers, and policymakers a deeper understanding of the gap between workforce needs and workforce supply and how they can work together to bridge that gap,” said Owen Driskill, Chair of the Chamber’s Advocacy Committee.
According to Sue Kristjansson, President and CEO of Oak Ridge Utility District, “The plan is for this event to kick-off a series of discussions about the future of work and to highlight Oak Ridge and Anderson County’s influence on the state’s economy.”
Jim Vosburg, Director of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education said, “The day will include panel discussions by employers, education providers, and policy makers. The employer panel will discuss how their work has changed, and the skill sets they need. Education providers will speak about what they are doing and what they need to be doing to make sure students are ready for careers. The policy maker panel will share the initiatives such as the Drive 55 program influence workforce employers and employees as well as how public policy aligns with the state’s workforce goals.”
The day will begin with Bill Fox, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee outlining the data that reflect the drastic changes affecting the very definition of work in today’s industry.
Kicking off the afternoon sessions, Sharon Younger, President of Younger and Associates will deliver a presentation of a labor study her company recently conducted in Oak Ridge.
The day will conclude with a roundtable discussion, moderated by Gene Patterson of Y-12, to bring together the various topics discussed throughout the day. Governor Bill Lee has been invited to participate along with other members of the day’s panels to share their thoughts on how workforce consumers, suppliers and policymakers can work together to ensure the state’s economy has the workforce it needs as work evolves in new ways.
Panelists who have confirmed their plans to participate include:
Eduation Provider Panel
- Ron Edmond, ORAU – Moderator
- Ken Rueter, President & CEO of UCOR
- Justin Holcombe, CEO of ZYP Coatings
- Scott Laska, Manager of SL Tennessee
- Jeremy Biggs, Chief Administrative Office or Methodist Medical Center
Policy Maker Panel
- Dave Duncan, ORAU – Moderator
- Dr. Chris Whaley, President of Roane State Community College
- Dr. Bruce Borchers, Superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools
- Danice Turpin, President of Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Harriman
- Howard Hall, Professor with the University of Tennessee
- Andy Page, President & CEO of Oak Ridge Associated Universities
To RSVP for the event and to see the up-to-date list of participating panelists, click here. Sponsorship opportunities are available, as well as exhibit space. Contact Greta Ownby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-483-1321 for additional information.
- Eric Abelquist, ORAU – Moderator
- Senator Ken Yager, State of Tennessee (invited)
- Representative John Ragan, State of Tennessee
- Representative Kent Calfee, State of Tennessee
- Jennie McCabe, Workforce Development Consultant, Tennessee Department of ECD
- Chelle Travis, Director of Workforce & Economic Development, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
- Morgan Dent, Talent Program Manager, Launch Tennessee
The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is Four-Star Accredited Chamber of Commerce.