In April, Vicki Bunch joined the staff of Jackson State Community College as the LEAP Grant director and coordinator. The LEAP Grant is a workforce initiative supported by the governors office in which Jackson State Community College was designated as the fiscal agent for the Jackson Regional Partnership. The grant provides $900,000 to the West Tennessee area to assist a consortium of area organization in developing resources to assist and encourage students in pursuing career opportunities in manufacturing.
Bunch comes to this position with a wealth of experience including extensive work with the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Association of Southwest Tennessee, West Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives and Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executive, as At-large board Member. She also served on the Jackson Regional Partnerships Advisory Council and Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Advisory Board.
Since beginning the job in April, Bunch has been in the process of procuring equipment for area TCAT programs. This equipment has included items such as a robotic MIG welder, a plasma CAM cutter, a Fanuc robot, and an animated robotic trainer. According to Bunch, the addition of this equipment will allow for students to be trained on the latest and most up-to-date technology. The goal, she states, is to ensure that our workforce is well-qualified and provides prospective manufacturers with the confidence they need to build their facilities in West Tennessee.
Bunch states that the Haywood County megasite is very close to being a reality. We have to ensure that we can support the types of industry that we are trying to recruit, she states. The governors goals are ambitious, but they are essential if we are to grow our states economy. I am honored to play a role in the economic development of West Tennessee and our state.