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Region Hones in on Veterans, A.I. & Meeting Employee Expectations during E2E Summit


Hosted by the First Tennessee Development District at the MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center, the 2023 Education to Employee Summit honed in on areas of opportunity and concern impacting the region's workforce.


Sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Greene County Partnership, Johnson City Chamber, NETNHub, NETWORKS Sullivan Partnership, Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce, and the Northeast Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board, E2E provides a forum for employers, k-12 and post-secondary educators, and elected officials, to address workforce challenges and pursue opportunities.


This year’s event included a keynote from Commissioner Deniece Thomas of the Tennessee Department of Workforce and Labor. Commissioner Thomas shared her vision for the state as the department looks for sustained methods to boost employee participation to meet growing demand. During the course of her presentation, she encouraged partnership, such as E2E where groups look for dynamic and inventive ways to meet people where they are. She also touched on her personal history, emphasizing how her childhood, including household chores, instilled a strong work ethic that has prepared her for a career supporting employees and and employers at the state level.


Attendees also discussed Veterans in the Workplace, Corporate Fellowship Programs and Eastman’s Experience, innovative high schools, and a deep dive into what employees want & how employers are responding in the region.

Panelists dove into the growing influence of A.I. and tools such as ChatGTP, which are impacting both industry and educators. Attendees heard a detailed overview of what A.I. can do, and more importantly, what it can't. Discussion focused on the positive aspects of labor reduction, with a growing awareness that A.I. could reshape the concept of work as we know it.

In a display of Northeast Tennessee’s strength in partnerships, seven of the areas’ high school culinary programs came together to provide meals for the day. Not only was the food outstanding, but the experience gave students the opportunity to work in a fast-paced conference setting, cater for hundreds of guests, and meet area decision makers and employers. Schools and students from across the region for the Gallery Walk to highlight skills and career ready programs offered for students to prepare them for the workplace.


Planning is already underway for next year's event, which will feature topics based on input from this year's guests.


For questions related to this or other District News, please contact Mark Stevans, mstevans@ftdd.org.


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