On Wednesday, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the formation of the Youth Career Exploration and Alignment Opportunities Task Force, according to a press release from Cooper’s office.

The task force, as described in the press release, will “expand workforce development, career exploration options and enhance access to high-wage, high-demand industry jobs for youth and young adults in Nashville.” The “first-of-its-kind” group will develop a strategy and a business plan on avenues to expand youth career exploration and youth employment opportunities based on existing models and best practices in agreement with Mayor Cooper and partnerships with The Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) and the Nashville Public Library.

“We know that an early introduction to job opportunities can shape a positive path forward in young people’s careers,” Mayor John Cooper said in a press release. “Connecting young people to good-paying jobs in growing industries – like music and entertainment, tourism and hospitality, and healthcare – is an essential way we can grow our economy in Nashville in a way that works for everyone. I’m grateful for the task force for finding new and creative ways to introduce career opportunities to Nashville’s emerging professionals, which can also motivate students to achieve more while they are in school.”

Members of the Youth Career Employment and Alignment Opportunities Task Force include:

  • Thom Druffel – Metro Nashville Council (Chair)
  • Deputy Mayor Brenda Haywood (Vice Chair)
  • Abby Mosby – Nations Ministry Center
  • Allie Duke – Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA)
  • Anna Harutyunyan – Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA)
  • Bob Kucher – PENCIL
  • Brenda Greene – PENCIL
  • Brian Lowenthal – Improving the Odds
  • Darrell Caldwell – Why We Can’t Wait
  • Dewayne Scott – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce
  • Dr. Rena Hall – Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Shanna Jackson – Nashville State Community College
  • Herbert Brown – Turner Construction
  • Jennifer Bell – Metro Nashville Public School
  • Jennifer Gamble – Metro Nashville Council
  • Kathryn Sinback – Juvenile Court, Metropolitan Government
  • Katie Hazelwood – Scarlett Family Foundation
  • Katina Bass – Metro Action Commission
  • Kristin Swaffer – Ascension St. Thomas Midtown
  • La’Kishia Harris – Mayor’s Office
  • Lee Gray – Oasis Center
  • Leesa LeClaire – Greater Nashville Hospitality Association
  • Makeda Watson – Metro Nashville Public School
  • Mikah Kimble – Backfield in Motion
  • Mohamed Hassan – Mayor’s Office
  • Nathan Garrett – Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)
  • Ray Holloman – Enterprise Disaster Recovery
  • Ron Johnson – Mayor’s Office
  • Sam Petsculat – Music City Construction
  • Shohreh Daraei – Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Tanya Evrenson – Metro Action Commission
  • Victor Berrios – Jani-King of Nashville
  • Zuhair Al-Bunni, Conrad Hilton

Task force meetings will take place on the 2nd Wednesday of each month beginning August 10th, the press release notes.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “John Cooper” by John Cooper.