Economic downturn focus of Leadership Blount forum

Leadership Blount, in partnership with the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and Maryville College’s Center for Strong Communities, is spearheading an effort to bring a local spotlight to national economic downturn.

This national issue will be taken up during the sixth annual Leadership Summit entitled “Finding the Silver Lining an Economic Storm.” The Summit is scheduled for Friday, April 3, and will feature a high-profile keynote speaker along with working plenary sessions designed to foster dialogue and develop action plans to assist the local Blount County community.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, the nation lost approximately 2.6 million jobs in 2008, with the last 1.9 million occurring in the last four months of the year. The last time the nation has seen this type of employment loss was after World War II ended in 1945. Even though the United States government has awarded a multi-billion “bailout” package to failing banking institutions and the auto industry in hopes of shoring up the marketplace, Americans are still feeling the pinch of the economic downturn.

“Leadership Blount’s vision is to continually be on the forefront of innovative programming,” said Herb Handly, chairman of Leadership Blount. “Clearly, the state of our economy begs for local dialogue and discussion on how best to help our industries and individuals.”

Plenary sessions will focus on industry, social services, tourism, healthcare access and retention, as well as a general session on the short- and long-term financial outlook of our economy. Additional details on the Leadership Summit will be shared in the coming weeks, including the name of the keynote speaker.

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