Industrial Executives Forum: Recap and Next Steps

May 15, 2013

On April 18th the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development hosted the 2013 Industrial Executives Forum. The Forum featured two discussion panels; the first focused on Retaining Top Talent & Attracting the Future Workforce, the second concentrated on Managing a Business in Transition. Over 115 industrial representatives, HCPED members and elected officials attended the meeting.

Following the Forum, industrial leaders participated in a working lunch with Henderson County Public Schools. Lori Chappell, Career Development Coordinator and Dr. Helen Owen, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Counseling, represented the Henderson County Public School System. Representatives provided specific information regarding upcoming opportunities for employer engagement.

Mrs. Chappell noted current efforts are underway to engage employers with interest in hosting an internship placement beginning Fall 2013. To participate, employers were instructed to contact Lori Chappell at [email protected] or 828-698-5149, ASAP to ensure a placement can be made prior to the end of the current semester. Mrs. Chappell also discussed the inherent flexibility that is built into Career and Technical Education programming, specifically noting the variations of work assignments as well as the school system’s ability to extend insurance coverage to students when engaged in off campus activities. Insurance liability, according to a recent survey of industrial employers, was one of the leading concerns that created a barrier to participating in internship and job shadowing opportunities.

Utilizing previous survey data and direct feedback during the work session, participating industrial leadership developed a plan, outlining recommendations and next steps for future engagement with the school system. The strategy will achieve four simple goals:

1)      Form productive relationships between industry leaders & the public school system

2)      Promote the manufacturing sector as a viable career path

3)      Positively impact the number of students who pursue careers in the manufacturing sector

4)      Increase industrial participation in CTE programs including job shadowing & internships

Implementation will include a variety of outreach and employer engagement. The effort will begin with a series of employer-driven luncheons designed to build relationships among industrial leadership and school  guidance counselors. The strategy calls for guidance counseling staff to visit different industrial employers at their prospective operations. The lunch meetings will afford meaningful discussions regarding future workforce needs. Manufacturing representatives will then have the opportunity to provide a guided facility tour, allowing school representatives the opportunity to experience first-hand the manufacturing process.

For more information about the 2013 Industrial Executives Forum or to get involved in the collaborative effort with the school system please contact Josh Hallingse at [email protected] or 828-692-6373.