Employees in retail are one of the most common customers for the Southeast Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board.

  • Workplace Excellence Program.  This course focuses on turning a job into a career.  It’s build heavily on communication and emotional intelligence, as well as problem solving, critical thinking, and organization/time management.  It wraps up with resume writing, mock interviews, and completing applications with local employers.
  • CompTIA IT Fundamentals+.  This course leads to an IT credential and is designed to help someone build new, entry-level IT skills.  It would be ideal for someone with an interest in IT but little to no previous experience or training.
  • To register, contact Dawn Whitener at the American Job Center: 423-643-2341
  • The registration deadline for both courses is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30
  • For more information, go to:  https://www.secareercenter.org/1/

A partnership opportunity between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Center for Professional Education (CPE) and the Southeast Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board aims to return individuals in the community and region to work who became unemployed or displaced by COVID-19.

With funding through the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, CPE was asked to provide short-term classes for individuals who may need a small boost to strengthen their existing skills. The pair of weeklong courses—CompTIA IT (Information Technology) Fundamentals+ and Workplace Excellence Program —take place Dec. 7-11. The information technology course is a live, instructor-led online class, while the workplace program will take place in-person in the Mapp Building. Registration deadline for both courses is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

“I know 2020 has been devastating for many industries and, while Chattanooga has fared a little better than some other parts of the state, we still have thousands of individuals that are unemployed across our area,” said Michele Holt, director of workforce development for the Southeast Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board.

“These CARES Act funds are for individuals who’ve been impacted by the COVID pandemic and are unemployed as a result. We reached out to UTC to do some shorter-term training programs for individuals to help reconnect them to the workforce as quickly as possible,” she said.

Holt anticipates training in the Workplace Excellence Program to focus on sought-after skills such as effective communications, teamwork, dependability, flexibility and problem-solving. Many individuals assisted by her office come from food service and retail, she said.

“What we always consistently hear from employers—and where we have struggled in years past with curriculum—is being able to have those soft skills-taught programs that are certified or offer an industry-recognized credential,” Holt said. “So what we’re looking to do with this program is to help individuals get some basic understanding of what goes on in the workplace. I think just being able to plant that seed and understand what would be expected of an individual in an environment such as customer service and communication skills or ‘How do I present myself on a daily basis?’”

The computer training program leads to credentials through the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a nonprofit trade association with the  goal of teaching  essential skills for IT support specialists, said John Freeze, director of CPE at UTC.


“This program will allow participants in this course to get some basic knowledge and earn a credential, and we’re hopeful this gets them some recognition in the workplace,” he said.

It aligns with CPE’s focus on increasing the skills and value of employees in the Chattanooga area, he explained.

“We’re interested in trying to set folks up so that they can be gainfully employed, if not by the end of this year, certainly with a pathway for the first part of 2021,” he said.


Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call 423-425-4363.

Chuck Wasserstrom is an executive staff writer in the UTC Office of Communications and Marketing.

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