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Task Force on Youth Career Exploration and Alignment Opportunities

It’s a Win-Win for Nashville’s YOUTH and Nashville’s WORKFORCE.

Mayor Cooper tasks 45 Nashville Community Leaders to:  

  1. EXPAND career exploration and employment opportunities for our YOUTH and 

  2. INVEST in and replenish Nashville’s WORKFORCE and LEADERS. 

Mayor chooses Thom Druffel to chair the Task Force; he wants a plan.

Thom and Team DELIVER.

In this plan, the Task Force ( on Youth Career Exploration and Alignment Opportunities ) presents new and creative ways — based on proven best practices — to introduce career opportunities through which all students, including economically disadvantaged and at-risk students, are motivated to achieve more while in school.


The plan also focuses on helping expand Nashville’s base of skilled workers in leading industries — hospitality, healthcare management, technology, construction, and other trades — to create a talent pipeline for the future.


“We know that an early introduction to job opportunities can shape a positive path forward in young people’s careers. Connecting young people to good-paying jobs in growing industries is an essential way to grow our economy in Nashville –– one that works for everyone.” – Mayor John Cooper

Why Thom?
Thom has demonstrated an unwavering passion and commitment to our schools and our youth through a lifetime of service.

  1. He collaborated with Metro staff and business leaders to develop The Academies of Nashville—an innovative reform employed in all community high schools and a national model,

  2. He served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Nashville After School Alliance which works with after-school programs,

  3. Thom chaired the Metro Council Education Committee in 2021,

  4. He was selected in 2022 to be the Director of Nashville State Community Colleges’ Hospitality Program which focuses on teaching and identifying learning alternatives to career development,   – continued

  5. Thom served Alignment Nashville, the Mayor’s Advisory Board on Exceptional Education,

  6. Thom was elected to be on the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Report Committee which evaluates key drivers for MNPS and makes recommendations, and

  7. As as a former Adjunct Professor at TSU, he led the development of the TSU Hospitality Program as a concentration for a B.S. Degree in Business Administration.


The Task Force will work in partnership with The Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) , and the Nashville Public Library.


“This is a great win-win. Due to Nashville’s significant economic growth and the ensuing need for workers, this investment in youth career exploration and employment opportunities will help expand our city’s base of skilled workers and leaders.” – Task Force Chair, Thom Druffel 

Members of the Task Force include: 
Chair, Thom Druffel, Metro Nashville Council
Vice-Chair, Brenda Haywood, Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement
Kana Bass, Metro Ac8on Commission
Jennifer Bell, MNPS
Herbert Brown, Turner Construc8on
Darrell Caldwell, Why We Can’t Wait
Judge Sheila Calloway, Metro Nashville Juvenile Court
LaTanya Channel, Mayor’s Officer
Deborah Crosby, MNPS
Daryl Curry, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Shohreh Daraei, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Allie Duke, Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA)
Tanya Evrenson, Metro Ac8on Commission
Jennifer Gamble, Metro Nashville Council
Nate Garred, Tennessee College of Applied Technology
Lee Gray, Oasis Center
La’Kishia Harris, Mayor’s Office
Anna Harutyunyan, Nashville A_er Zone Alliance (NAZA)
Brenda Haywood, Mayor’s Office
Kate Hazelwood, Scarled Family Founda8on
Jennifer Hill, Nashville Public Educa8on Founda8on
Ray Holloman, Enterprise Disaster Recovery
Dr. Shanna Jackson, Nashville State Community College
Melissa Jagger, Alignment Nashville
Troy Jenkins, State of Tennessee
Mikah Kimble, Backfield in Mo8on
Bob Kucher, PENCIL
Leesa LeClaire, Greater Nashville Hospitality Associa8on
Brian Lowenthal, Improving the Odds
Patricia Malone, Urban League of Middle Tennessee
Lonnell Madhews, Juvenile Court Clerk
Kenya McGruder, Urban League of Middle Tennessee
Sam Petschulat, Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee
Rachel Holly, BIT Nashville
Donovan Robertson, CCI Group
Marla Rye, Workforce Essen8als
Dewayne Scod, State of Tennessee
Kristn Swaffer, Ascension St. Thomas Midtown
Myra Taylor, MNPS
Aylsa Vega, Oasis Center
Makeda Watson, MNPS
James Weaver, Waller Lansden
Donna Whitehouse, Nashville State Community College
Marcus Williams, MNPS Community Achieves
Ellen Zinkiewicz, Community Volunteer

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