Laura Ward Appointed to National Workforce Panel to Advise Biden Administration on Economic Recovery Policies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 4, 2021) – The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Laura Ward, Senior Vice President of Talent Development has been appointed by National Skills Coalition (NSC) and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU) to serve on a national Retail/Hospitality Panel that will advise the Biden administration on its recovery taskforce.

Ward, along with other leaders in the panel, will meet in the coming months with White House advisers, officials at the Department of Labor, and Congressional leadership to help shape federal recovery policies for the retail/hospitality industry.

“We want to ensure that federal recovery efforts support the businesses and workers most impacted by the pandemic, particularly workers of color, women and workers with a high school degree or less,” said Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition. “We know that skills training alone will not ensure an inclusive recovery, but we also know that it must be part of our nation’s federal policy response. If we want those policies to succeed, industry leaders must help shape them.”

NSC and BLU convened a total of four recovery panels for the following industries: Healthcare, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Retail/Hospitality.

Different industries have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. The goal of the industry recovery panels is to ensure that federal recovery initiatives include investments in job training and support services that workers and businesses need to adapt to the structural shifts within their industries

“Communicating with the administration about the needs of employees and employers in the hospitality sector is critical especially considering the multiple disasters and challenges this region has experienced, in addition to the pandemic. This direct connection to policymakers ensures the voices of Tennesseans are heard,” says Ward.

The Industry Recovery Panel initiative is supported in part by Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Microsoft.

About Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation representing more than 2,000 member companies. Belong, engage, lead, prosper embodies the Chamber's focus on creating economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. The work of the Chamber is supported by its members, Partnership 2020 investors and sponsors; the Chamber’s Pivotal Partners (a partnership at the highest level for all Chamber programs and events) are Delek US Holdings, Bass, Berry & Sims, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Community Health Systems, Gresham Smith and Regions. For more information, visit


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