Tennessee Department of Labor creates new number to help with virtual adult education, job readiness


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Labor is creating a new way for people to continue their education and look for jobs online.

As with many organizations, the need for HopeWorks’ services is still high during the pandemic, even though they’ve had to cancel a lot of in-person activities.

“It’s a holistic approach to job readiness, job placement,” said HopeWorks Executive Director Ron Wade. “Prior to COVID, we’d have classes – over 20 classes- spread out all over the city. All those stopped.”

Wade is talking about their high school diploma equivalency classes. Now, they’re working with the state to offer it to even more people virtually.

Chris Cannon with the Tennessee Department of Labor explains they’ve created a new 800 number to connect people with an organization like HopeWorks, which administers the online course.

In Memphis, HopeWorks has already been doing this, but Wade expects the interest to pick up now. With the state’s funding help, they say they can teach nearly 2,000 students a year, including those who are incarnated.

He say they’ve used the funding to get 100 laptops for the jail and are getting creative to reach others.

“If I don’t have transportation, which is a big barrier for someone without a high school diploma, then right now it’s not a problem,” Wade said. “Now that the infrastructure is there for online learning and we have processes down, the test provider provides that examination, we don’t see this going away.”

The number to call is 800-531-1515. The classes are free.

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