DLN Annual Conference 2018

Staying Ahead of the Curve: The Next Generation Delta Workforce, the 2018 DLN annual conference, will help you lead your communities to harness future opportunities and get ahead of the curve with new innovative strategies for meeting our regional economy's workforce needs. The Delta's communities, while full of creative, passionate, and determined people, are often one step behind in applying successful solutions to our region's most pressing economic issues. This conference is alumni-led, forward-thinking, experiential, and focused on inspiring each DLN member to identify new ways their community can approach education, workforce development, and quality job creation. 

During the conference, we will explore programs and strategies that are preparing current and future workers for the next generation of jobs, starting with early childhood education and moving through a worker's lifecycle, including retraining for re-entry into the labor market. We will identify and break down the barriers to securing high-level skills with the goal of low unemployment. We will participate in breakout workshops that challenge you to apply lessons to your own community. State meetings on the last day will help our Network develop actionable goals for our communities.

This year's Delta Leadership reception will be at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Here's a musical welcome from the students of the Stax Music Academy: 
Chris Winton, VP of Human Resources for FedEx, will be kicking off the conference. View the video above for his take on how strategies implemented by FedEx are preparing today's students and workers for the future workplace.

Join us in Memphis, Tennessee, on February 5-7, 2018, and stay ahead of the curve!

Registration is now closed. 


PDF agenda

Monday, February 5

12:00 - 3:00      Registration | DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Memphis, 185 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN (lunch on your own)

2:00 - 2:30        Welcome | DRA and DLI Leadership

  • Brad Thompson, Chair, DLN Regional Advisory Council
  • Hon. Peter Kinder, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority
  • Hon. Mark Luttrell, Mayor, Shelby County, TN 

2:30 - 3:30        Opening Keynote: The Future of Work, Jobs, and the Economy | Chris Winton, VP Human Resources, FedEx

3:30 - 3:45        Break

3:45 - 4:45        Engaging Youth in the Workforce Pipeline

  • Paige Roberts, Co-Founder, Pathways2Possibilities
  • Andy Sisulak, Board Member, eLaunch Williamson County
  • Andrew Parker, Director of Governmental Affairs, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce

4:45 - 5:00        The History & Neighborhood of the Stax Museum | Christy Valentine, Director of Development, Soulsville Foundation

5:00 - 8:00        Reception and Tour | Stax Museum and Music Academy (heavy hors d'oeuvres)

                          926 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, TN 38106

                          Presented by Tennessee Valley Authority

                          *Transportation will be provided from the lobby of the DoubleTree

Tuesday, February 6

8:00 - 9:00        Breakfast - Tennesse Ballroom

9:00 - 10:15      Thinking Outside the Box: State and Regional Initiatives to Proactively Address Workforce Needs

  • 60 by 25 | Deborah Barnett, Workforce Education and Development, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Drive to 55 | Steven Gentile, Associate Chief Fiscal Officer, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • LED Faststart | Paul Helton, Executive Director, Louisiana Economic Development

10:45 - 12:00    Breakout Sessions

  • Using Service Opportunities to Support Workforce Development and Meet Employer Needs - Gayoso Room
    • Rosa Moreno, Managing Director, Service Year Alliance
  • Developing Public-Private Partnerships and Engaging Industry for Workforce Success - Tennessee Ballroom
    • Lee Lingo, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
    • Margaret Prater, Executive Director, Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board
    • Dr. Chad Stocks, VP of Workforce, Career Tech & Adult Education, Hinds Community College
  • Preparing Your Workforce for Brownfields Redevelopment - Desoto Room
    • Dr. John Sutherlin, Executive Director, Research Corporation of Louisiana

12:00 - 1:15      Lunch Keynote: The Trump Administration's Vision for Apprenticeships and On-Site Training - Tennesse Ballroom

                         Mark Zelden, Special Assistant to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor (invited)

1:15 - 1:45        Break

1:45 - 2:45        Changing the Culture of Unemployed Communities and Re-engaging Disconnected Workers

  • Dr. J.J. Wedgeworth, Head of School, University Charter School
  • Dr. Ken Tucker, President, University of West Alabama

3:00 - 6:00        Field Experience | Crosstown Concourse

Dinner on your own

Wednesday, February 7

8:00 - 8:45        Breakfast - Tennessee Ballroom

9:00 - 10:15      State Meetings: Action items to improve workforce in your state and DLN State business (Location dependent on state)

10:15 - 10:45    Break

10:45 - 12:00    Closing Keynote | Hon. Chris Caldwell, Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

Lodging is not covered by the registration fee; however, the DLN has a block of 100 rooms reserved at the DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Memphis (185 Union Avenue) for the government rate of $117 per night plus taxes and fees. To reserve a room, call 901-528-1800 and ask for the Delta Leadership Network room blockIf you would like to share a room with someone, we encourage you to reconnect with your classmates via the DLN PortalROOM BLOCK IS CLOSED.

Monday morning will be a travel day with registration at the DoubleTree beginning at Noon. The opening session will start promptly at 2:00 pm. If you wish to carpool, we encourage you to let us know, and we will help connect you to others in your area.

Parking: Valet parking is available for $26 per day at the DoubleTree. There is limited street parking in downtown Memphis; however, there are numerous parking garages, including: 23 S. 3rd Street ($10 daily), 118 Union Avenue ($12 daily), 249 Peabody Place ($5 daily), and 149 Peabody Place ($12 daily). Find more public parking options here: http://www.downtownmemphis.com/getting-around/parking/.

Overflow lodging: ROOM BLOCK IS CLOSED. Once the hotel block at the DoubleTree is full, there is a second overflow block of 50 rooms at the Courtyard Marriott (75 Jefferson Avenue) for $130 per night plus taxes and fees. To book a reservation, either book online with this link or call the hotel and ask for a room in the Delta Leadership Institute block. Valet parking is available for $22 per day. The Courtyard Marriott is approximately .5 miles or 7 blocks from the DoubleTree Hotel. 

Thanks to generous sponsors, there will be a limited number of scholarships. If you are unable to pay the registration fee, please submit a one-page explanation (no more than 300 words) of your need. Include your recent involvement with the Delta Leadership Network. Please note if a partial scholarship would allow you to participate, should there not be a full scholarship available. Scholarship requests should be submitted to Shawnie Carrier at shawniecarrier@astate.edu by Thursday, January 4. 

Notice of scholarship receipt will be made by no later than Tuesday, January 16. 


Pathways 2 Possibilies

Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board


For information or ideas regarding the agenda and programming, contact Frankie Gilliam at fgilliam@astate.edu or (870) 335-7892.

For help with booking your lodging or any dietary restrictions, contact Sea Talantis at stalantis@ccs.ua.edu or (205) 348-3014.