Adams and Reese attorney Mark Norris, who serves as State Senate Republican Leader of Collierville, organized a workforce development session and conference, “Conversation About Work,” at The University of Memphis University Center on September 4th to discuss workforce training efforts and the training programs of local business and higher education leaders.
The goal of the gathering was to begin to put that response on a more permanent footing, with the hope that such a response will be another incentive for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the Memphis area.
Norris was interviewed by The Memphis Daily News in a September 3rd article on the conference.
“It is sort of all getting on the same wavelength so we can say what, if anything, can we do to help,” Norris said.
The University of Memphis is also involved, with interim president Brad Martin setting a goal of 10-year workforce development plans with the top 30 employers in the region.
Martin’s vision is workforce development that leads to bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates of training and associate degrees. The goal underlies the drive to make such training more comprehensive than a specific skill for a specific job.
For Norris, the Wednesday session had its origins in an exchange he saw a year ago in Memphis during a roundtable with business and higher education leaders chaired by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. At the same session, other business leaders told Haslam they are looking more for critical thinking skills and adaptability in the workforces they will employ in the future than the ability to perform a specific task.