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Roane County: Where Education and Industry Meet

December 21, 2016

Roane County High Schools Educators Visit Manufacturing Businesses

Kingston, TN – A remarkable event occurred on November 8, 2016 in Roane County – Educators in the Workplace – when all of Roane County’s high school educators visited local businesses and learned that Roane County is the home of several advanced technology manufacturing companies. To many of our teachers, and very many Roane Countians, the extent of manufacturing in Roane County has been an “open secret” waiting to be discovered.    

The visits allowed educators to learn about the skills (hard and soft skills), attitude and work ethic that businesses need from the workforce for both the individual and the organization to be successful.  They also learned what the organizations produce and the services provided, and why these needs are critical to success. The visits underscore why it is important for educators and business representatives to establish relationships with each other to support and enhance the education and training of our future workforce.    

Deborah Rice, an Education Specialist at Oliver Springs High School, wrote to Leah Watkins, Director of Roane County Schools, about the visits. “Just wanted to let you know that yesterday was one of the best and most beneficial staff development days I have ever participated in during my 31 years of teaching,” Rice wrote, “I learned so much that I can now pass on to my students.”

 “This is one of the most important and impactful workforce development actions that the Roane Alliance has coordinated in working with our schools and businesses,” said Wade Creswell, President/CEO of the Roane Alliance.  “It could not have been accomplished without the forward-looking leadership of Leah Watkins, Director of Roane County Schools, and the dedicated leaders of the ten organizations that hosted our educators.”    

Approximately 140 educators from the five high schools in Roane County visited a combination of five of the following Roane County organizations:

  • AlbaHealth
  • R. Barger and Sons
  • Dienamic Tooling Systems
  • Kimble Chase Life Science & Research
  • NetShape Technologies
  • PermaFix/Diversified Scientific Services
  • Proton Power
  • Roane State Community College
  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Harriman
  • Volkswagen Group of American-Distribution Center


“Previously, our high school career and technical education (CTE) teachers and school counselors have visited these businesses, but this is the first time that all the other high school educators participated in the visits,” said Allen Lutz, Education and Workforce Development Specialist of the Roane Alliance.