Good news and great networking highlight annual “Tenders and Tea at TCAT.”

August 24, 2022

Critical strides in local education and the value of MTIDA’s Wage and Benefit Survey were among the topics at the annual event sponsored by the Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership.

“Working the room” took on a new level of meaning at the annual “Tenders and Tea at TCAT” as attendees received positive news about the area’s education and workforce development as well as crucial information about workforce recruitment and the upcoming Worker Wage & Benefit Survey by the Middle Tennessee Industrial Development Association (MTIDA). Also, in 

addition to important perspectives shared by five speakers, participants had the opportunity to make connections with leaders and representatives from a rich cross-section of business, education and government affairs.

The Shelbyville-Bedford Partnership sponsors the annual gathering on the campus of Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Shelbyville (TCAT), and Partnership President and CEO Shane Hooper explained, “To achieve the alignment that the Partnership envisions for skills, educational opportunities and employer needs, we want to create as many connection points as possible between industry and education. Our goal is to facilitate engagement, both formal and informal, between these sectors.”

Some of the good news in education that the event brought to light included:

  • Bedford County students outpacing their statewide TN Promise peers by a wide margin in retention and graduation, according to speaker Graham Thomas, Community Outreach Director for tnAchieves. The non-profit organization oversees TN Promise, the last-dollar scholarship program that enables Tennessee high school students to attend community and technical college tuition-free.
  • Construction proceeding on schedule for a Sept. 30, 2022 groundbreaking for the new $43 million campus of TCAT, according to TCAT-Shelbyville President Dr. Laura Monks, who also shared pertinent graduate success stories.

Wages, workforce and a legislative dispatch.

Other speakers included Kendrick Curtis, MTIDA Assistant Director, who explained how local employers will benefit from participation in the upcoming Wage & Benefit Survey produced by MTIDA in collaboration with Middle Tennessee State University.

The title sponsor of the event was Ferrous Processing and Trading Co., North America’s premier processor, seller and recycler of scrap metals. Ferrous Executive Vice President Bill Sulak provided insights about identifying and recruiting valuable workers to expand operations. Pat Marsh, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee House of Representatives, also gave an update of developments from the latest legislative session.

Aimed at local CEOs, plant managers and human resources personnel, Tenders and Tea drew attendance from across sectors, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and logistics, education, and social services. Representatives also attended from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

“Knowledge is power,” Hooper noted. “And Tenders and Tea is truly empowering, giving attendees a chance to learn more about who and what makes our economy and community grow, and how their own organizations can benefit from and be a driver of that growth.”


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