Human Resources | News Article

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mountain States receives Valued Partner Award for supporting workforce development programs

Mountain States' Jo Pearce (left) from HR and Paul Merrywell, VP/chief information officer, accepted the award at the First Tennessee Development District's annual meeting.Mountain States has been recognized with a Valued Partner Award by the First Tennessee Development District (FTDD) for participation in and support of programs like CareerQuest, Work Ethic Diploma and Work Ready Community. These programs help people become more prepared to join the career workforce.

The FTDD is a regional association of local governments that includes eight Northeast Tennessee counties, and it has placed a focus on addressing our region’s workforce and literacy issues. Several programs have been initiated by the FTDD, including CareerQuest and the Work Ethic Diploma, and they are part of a drive to make our area a Work Ready Community.

Lottie Ryans, director of Workforce & Literacy Initiatives for FTDD, called Mountain States’ support of these programs “extraordinary” and said, “You exemplify a valued partner for our region.”

The award was presented Oct. 28 during the FTDD’s annual meeting held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Representing Mountain States were Paul Merrywell, information systems VP/chief information officer, and Jo Pearce, executive recruiter and Tennessee Employment Center supervisor with the HR department, who attended to accept the award.

“These programs ultimately help us hire good people,” Pearce said. “As an organization, Mountain States is continuously trying to hire new folks, to grow and to bring in new ideas and new talent, and these programs help us do that. They help people understand what they need to do on the front end to prepare for a career, and potentially to become part of our company.”

Career Quest is an annual two-day event at East Tennessee State University for high school and middle school students to introduce them to various types of careers. Mountain States participated in two sectors – healthcare and IT.

Work Ethic Diploma is a new program Mountain States is supporting that helps high school students become more prepared for when they enter the career workforce. High school students can earn this “diploma” by meeting standards in areas such as attendance, punctuality, being drug-free and working as a team. At least 25 regional businesses – including Mountain States – have agreed to guarantee an interview to any student who earns a Work Ethic Diploma and also meets the minimum job requirements of an opening.

The Work Ready Community designation is being pursued by a host of Northeast Tennessee counties, although only about 4 percent of counties nationwide hold such a distinction. Mountain States is working to help our region become a Work Ready Community in various ways, including through programs like Career Quest and Work Ethic Diploma.

Jamie Parsons, VP of human resources for Mountain States, said, “I have worked with the First Tennessee Development District for several years now, and they do an outstanding job making our community a great place for businesses, not only our current ones but those looking to relocate to this area.”