published Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Haslam says workforce training has long way to go

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks during the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Gov. Bill Haslam speaks during the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Dan Henry.
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Review live coverage of Gov. Bill Haslam's first major address to Chattanooga here.

Saying he has talked with more than 1,000 business chiefs in his first eight months in office, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told Chattanooga leaders Wednesday the state's workforce is too shallow in engineering and technical skills.

Haslam said many company CEOs have told him the state needs to bolster its education achievement for its workforce.

"Workforce development and training, while we think it's better, still has a long way to go," he said to about 50 business and political leaders, especially citing the science, math and engineering areas.

Haslam, later speaking to about 1,300 people at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting, said the state needs to raise education expectations.

"If Chattanooga is going to continue to be in that position of strength ... we really have to raise our expectations around education," he said.

Haslam said Chattanooga is on "the buzz list" of top cities concerning economic development, citing the recruitment of companies such as Volkswagen and Amazon.

But cities that provide a better talent pool of workers are "going to win," he said.

"It's all about human capital," Haslam said.

The governor also noted that Chattanooga has become a location where people want to come and live.

"The lifestyle changes ... have really changed the face of Chattanooga," he said.

Jobs efforts

During the annual Chamber meeting, leaders of the "Chattanooga Can Do" campaign said the 4-year-old effort exceeded its goals for job generation and business investment since 2007 and the Chamber has launched a new four-year effort. The new $9.25 million campaign aims to bring another 15,000 jobs to the region.

"Chattanooga is a great place to do business," said Ron Harr, who ended a yearlong stint as Chamber of Commerce chairman.

Mike St. Charles, the Chamber's new chairman, said the jobs campaign that started mid-year will focus heavily on growing existing businesses. He said that about $6 million will be allocated toward supporting local companies.

Tom Edd Wilson, the Chamber's chief executive, said the business group has reached its $9.25 million fundraising goal for its new job-growth campaign.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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328Kwebsite said...

A good place to start would be with a government leader who stops ridiculing teachers and innovators. Since the Republican party keeps that kind of activity on their annual agenda, we can expect that they will continue to fail to cultivate success in Math and Science.

August 25, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
teach_them_all said...

"It's all about human capital," Haslam said.

Sorry, but we are not "human capital". We are citizens who have a say in how things are done in our communities, state, and country. If you want to improve in these areas then stop promoting teaching to pass a test and start promoting learning.

August 25, 2011 at 7:31 p.m.
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