By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
Sixth District U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin shared ideas and discussed ways to bring one job to every business in Wilson County to fight unemployment during a meeting with local elected officials on Tuesday.
The meeting was part of Blacks Jobs Task Force, One More Job initiative that she hoped would reduce unemployment through Tennessees 6th Congressional district.
How can we at the federal level partner with you to create one more job in every local business? Black asked.
Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Vanatta said she hears a need for skilled workers from local businesses. Vanatta said there is a large need for Information Technology, or IT, jobs locally as well as skilled workers in fields such as machinists and welding.
The discussion led into a need for a technical school nearby to help train local workers and be a place for students to receive technical degrees to meet the needs of businesses needing more skilled workers.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the county is in talks with the Wilson County Board of Education on using the Wilson County Vocational Center on the old Lebanon High School campus as possibly a technical school.
G.C. Hixson, executive director of the Joint Economic & Community Development Board of Wilson County, said the school would be a branch operation instead of a full-time technical school.
It could also be a place for juniors and seniors in high school to come at night, possibly receive course credit and get that training, Hutto said.
Black said she could see a huge benefit from the small technical school, not only for training workers but also for educating students in high school and giving them options for career paths.
She said some have demeaned the value of a technical degree or technical job training compared to a four-year degree from a full-time university. She added that technical jobs pay good money and technical workers are just as important as white-collar workers.
We have somehow made it seem like if thats your skill set, its somehow not valuable, but we need to make them feel important and valued in society, Black said.
Hutto said marketing career paths and promoting technical jobs to high school students will be a great benefit to the local community in helping students decide what field to enter after graduation.
District 22 Wilson County Commissioner Wendell Marlow, who is also a middle school principal, said career education needs to start earlier in middle school.
District 23 Commissioner Bernie Ash said the federal and state governments should create an environment more conducive to small business owners. He said the majority of businesses in Wilson County are mom and pop businesses that are hurting in the current economic climate.
Black said she is encouraging fair, flatter and simpler tax reform to lessen the burden on small businesses. She also said many businesses are concerned about the Affordable Care Act, or the Health Care Law, and how mandates will affect businesses offering health insurance to employees.
The group talked about recruiting jobs to Wilson County and how the federal government could help bring white-collar jobs to the community, but Black said the responsibility to bring those types of jobs rests with the local governments.
She said businesses want to locate in areas that offer better infrastructure, better tax incentives and have an attractive community.
They like to be close to an airport, they like to be close to an interstate and a college in town is important, Black said.
She noted how lucky Wilson County is to have Interstate 40 passing through, pointing out it is a major draw in attracting businesses here. She said local governments have to do the legwork to encourage businesses to locate in Wilson County.
Theyre watching your city council meetings to see if youre getting along, theyre looking at your school board to see if youre moving education forward, Black said.
Black noted she would be taking feedback from all 15 counties she represents to Congress and voicing the concerns shes heard along the way.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at email@example.com.
Tomorrow the Lebanon area Crohns and Colitis Support Group will meet in the University Medical Center Board Room to hear from guest speaker Dr. Norma Fisher.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m. at UMC.
The support group meets regularly on the second Tuesday of every month. For more information, you may contact the CCFA Tennessee Chapter Office at 866-814-CCFA.
GULF SHORES, AL -- Friendship defeated Westmoreland High 6-1 Tuesday morning in the second round of the Gulf Shores Spring Break Classic. Tana Whited was the winning pitcher.
Tuesday's second game found FCS falling to East Robertson 4-3. Hunter Holland was tagged with the loss. Soph catcher Brittany Petry had a two-run single.
The Lady Commanders (2-1) are set to play Tuscaloosa County High School 8 a.m. Wednesday with the single elimination tournament set to begin at 11:30 a.m.
SPRING SPORTS OPENS TODAY
GULF SHORES, AL -- Friendship Christian's Lady Commanders got the 2012 softball season off to a solid start with a 1-0 victory Monday morning over Brookwood, AL in the opening game of the Gulf Shores Spring Break Classic.
Hunter Holland went the distance for the pitching decision and helped her own cause with a piar of hits. Ninth grader Kelsi Dickey scored the winning run on a passed ball just as the time limit was expiring.
LEBANON -- Cumberlands No. 7-ranked baseball team improved to 19-9 on the season and 5-1 in the TranSouth Conference with a weekend sweep of visiting Lyon College.
Coach Woody Hunt's Bulldogs got a good dose of offensive firepower in Sunday's 13-3 run-rule win over the Scots Sunday at Stockton Field.
Senior first baseman Mike Mandarino (pictured) belted three home runs and drove in six runs Sunday as Cumberland hitters ripped 11 hits in just six inning, including six homers, off four Lyon pitchers in the contest.
Weve got some guys who can swing the bat. Today was a good day to hit, Coach Hunt said. Mike showed what kind of hitter he is. We scattered some hits throughout the game and got some big two-out hits.
Mandarino hit a solo homer to leadoff the second inning, added a two-run shot in the third and belted a tape-measure shot down the leftfield line in the sixth.
Nick Sydnor, Tyler Wheeler and Antonio Butler each posted solo homers in the win.
Junior Chipper Smith (4-3) picked up the victory, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings of work. The lefthander walked two and struck out six. Devin Stovall tossed a perfect seventh inning, striking out two Scot batters.
Chipper can pitch better than he did today, Hunt said. He needs to attack the zone more. He threw well enough to get win -- we need to get a lot of starts from him.
The sweep gave the Bulldogs five consecutive wins and victories in six of their last eight outings.
We got the sweep, but we didnt play as well as we can, Hunt said. We had the long trip back from Florida and a couple of guys are a little banged up. It was a tough weekend to come back and play at our best.
Cumberland will host No. 15-ranked Missouri Baptist Tuesday, March 13 in a 6 p.m. game under the lights at Veterans Field in Baird Park. The two teams will play a 2 p.m. game Wednesday at Stockton Field on the CU campus.
This weekend, the Bulldogs visit Pulaski for a three-game conference series at Martin Methodist -- Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17.