Gov. Lee pushes for vocational education during Chattanooga visit

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said the state needs skilled workers, and local officials say that’s especially true in Hamilton County.

The Governor made an appearance in Chattanooga tonight as a special speaker at the SkillsUSA Tennessee VIP Dinner.

“What’s happening here fits right into what I think is a very important part of education in the state of Tennessee,” Gov. Lee said.

SkillsUSA Tennessee supports career and technical education, teaching Tennessee’s students skill-based jobs to get them into the work force.

The organization brought their annual state competition to Chattanooga.

“What it means to our community is preparing people for the work force, giving our young people and sometimes our not so young people the opportunity to find the right fit for what they want to do in their life, and to be able to again earn some good wages that provides them an opportunity to help their families.,” Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

Governor Lee’s private sector success came from skilled trades, and he says his education reforms as Governor don’t dismiss skill trades.

“We rolled out our first initiative called the Governor’s investment in vocational education,” Gov. Lee said. “It’s our first educational initiative that’s specifically designed to give pathways to success for those who are interested in skilled trades.”

Mayor Coppinger says the need for skilled workers in Hamilton County is growing.

“We’ve had a lot of success here in recruiting businesses and creating jobs, and now you have to find that work force. And that’s some of what you see here tonight, that fit into those jobs that are being created,” Coppinger said.

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