Breaking News
More () »

Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

U.S. Secretary of Labor visits Morristown to discuss role in helping rebound economy

Eugene Scalia visited the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and met with leaders about how to move forward.

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. — The U.S. Secretary of Labor was in Morristown on Monday highlighting the economic recovery during the pandemic.

Eugene Scalia visited the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and met with leaders about how to move forward.

It comes as unemployment numbers continue to climb.

Tennessee saw a dip in jobless claims at the end of May and early June, but there has been an increase of new claims filed over the last three weeks.

"The conversation today is how we're going to continue with our mission to get the country on track," said TCAT Morristown president Jerry Young. 

The college works to train people and get them into the workforce.

"81% of students who come here finish in what they are trained to do. 95% find a job in what they are trained to do," said Congressman Phil Roe. 

The Secretary said he recognizes that. 

"Vocational technical training in this country is really one of the strengths of the workforce system right now," said Scalia. 

He joined a round table discussion at the college to find ways to keep that moving.

"The biggest challenge with COVID is maintaining social distancing and training environment and how do we line them up for employers," said Young. 

Scalia along with Roe and local business leaders talked about apprenticeships and policies to restore the economy amid the pandemic.

"Thankfully we're rebounding. I heard good stories today from local business people about the growth they're experiencing, hiring they are intending to do," said Scalia. 

Young plans to incorporate the ideas, expecting a high demand for jobs coming back in the fall. 

"I appreciate the opportunity for us to have input into what's going on in our country," he said. 

All recognizing East Tennessee will play a vital role in the rebound. 

"I have never seen the American people, American workers or business owners as focused on health and safety in the workplace as they are right now," said Scalia. 

TCAT provides 18 different training programs across all its campuses. 

The state will report updated jobless numbers Thursday.

RELATED: 25,843 new unemployment claims filed in Tennessee for the week ending July 4

RELATED: 1.3 million workers file for unemployment as layoffs remain historically high

RELATED: Labor unions plan July 20 mass strike to confront systemic racism in economy