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Over 60 sign in 2024 Blount County Job Signing Day

Over 60 sign in 2024 Blount County Job Signing Day

Over 60 sign in 2024 Blount County Job Signing Day

The Daily Times

Mathaus Schwarzen



More than 60 high school graduates signed with local employers Tuesday morning, May 14 as the sixth Blount County Job Signing Day celebrated local careers and opportunities. Guests at the event, held in the conference room at the Airport Hilton, filled the seats and then stood in crowds around the stage.

Signees entered through a tunnel, accompanied by smoke, flashing lights and narration by longtime Vols radio announcer Bob Kesling.

Blount Memorial Hospital signed the most graduates this year, bringing 30 new workers into its team. Speakers at the signing day included Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell, Alcoa Director of Schools Rebecca Stone and Tennessee Rep. Jerome Moon.

Jessica Belitz, director of workplace development for host organization Blount Partnership, said the event grew out of a desire to celebrate the multitude of employment paths available to students.

“The message isn’t that you don’t have to go to a four-year college,” said Belitz. “I think it’s more that there are several different pathways to a great lucrative job.”

Blount Partnership staff meet with local employers and schools to coordinate what the job market needs to keep growing with the times, she said. Key areas include workplace learning, career and technical education and dual enrollment opportunities.

Tuesday’s event is the result of that hard work. From its humble beginnings with six graduates in its first year, the Blount County Job Signing Day saw 68 recent graduates from around the county sign with more than a dozen employers Tuesday. Many of the signees earned certifications in their fields before graduation, Belitz said, meaning they can go directly into the workforce.

Some are going to work and studying for degrees at the same time.

Mitchell told guests at the event he was glad for the growth the local job market has seen since he graduated high school. Back then, he said, graduates had about five options in the county unless they wanted to move away. More avenues for employment mean young people are more likely to stay in Blount County, he said.

“Whenever our most talented students can stay here and have good jobs, they enrich our community every step of the way,” he said.

For Stone, the day was an opportunity to celebrate students’ achievements. It was also a time to be grateful for local partnerships, she told guests. Cooperation between the three school systems in the county, local employers and Blount Partnership allows for the students’ success.

“They leave high school equipped with not only technical skills or for the workforce, but the competence and adaptability that’s crucial to be successful in our workforce today,” she said.