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VOL. 133 | NO. 126 | Monday, June 25, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Rebranding and Self Identity, The Many Legs of CTE and Draft Recap

By Bill Dries

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What’s in a name? Plenty when it comes to tourism. The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau is now Memphis Tourism – a name change that has been in the making for a while before last week’s unveiling at the CVB’s annual meeting where it flipped the switch on the new identity. There are a couple of key ingredients in the change – soul and home – according to Memphis Tourism president Kevin Kane.

The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau is now Memphis Tourism and has a new tagline that includes soul with rock and roll and the blues.

Ordinarily rebrandings aren’t that big a deal. There may be a shift in purpose or emphasis that makes them necessary. Or there may some cosmetics involved. However, rebrands like this are often an indicator of how we see ourselves as a city. And Memphis identity continues to evolve in a city that may seem simple to tourists and visitors and is anything but to us. That’s part of the trade-off for living in a city that is as deep in its character and culture as you want to go.

Career Technical Education or CTE is the focus of a reorganization by Shelby County Schools as places like the welding school at Moore Tech are finding more employers for their graduates.

A shockingly low percentage of Shelby County Schools high school graduates walk across the stage with some kind of certification in a trade and that percentage is among those who take CTE courses – career and technical education. It’s what we used to call vo-tech – vocational technical education – and before that “learning a trade.” The 2017 report we cite in the cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, took an inventory of where the school system is on CTE and where it should be. The result is big attempt to turn around CTE that touches on a lot of other significant questions like possibly reorganizing SCS high schools into comprehensive high schools instead of a set of high schools that might differ significantly in what they offer.

And part of the discussion is what pathways to build for career and technical education. Is it all about where the jobs are now? Or is that likely to change? This issue has even been a major topic in the Republican primary for Governor with three of the top contenders saying they think there is an unfair perception that a two-year associate degree or a training certificate is settling for less. Add in a liberal dose of vo-tech nostalgia from the 1970s and you have a big issue with legs that are moving in several directions at once.

The CTE moves Shelby County Schools and the suburban school systems are making are fueled in part by STEM and STEAM curriculums – science, technology, engineering and math and science, technology, engineering, the arts and math. And that influence is seen in a new flight academy at the Olive Branch Airport named for Lt. Col. Luke Weathers, one of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Here is The Week Ahead which has lots of lead in to the Fourth of July holiday along with lots of summer live music and dinosaurs as well.

As the weekend began, the Memphis Fire Department suspended a trial program after two invoices totaling $50,000 were mistakenly paid to a health care provider through the program when the medical services were supposed to be free to the city during the test run.

A New York-based realty trust buys the EnSafe headquarters at Summer and Sycamore View.

A new Elvis gospel record, the hotel called Hu that is coming and Mississippi sports betting goes live next month – all elements in our “Around Memphis” reading list along with lots of post-NBA draft analysis.

Jaren Jackson Jr., left, and Jevon Carter, right, were the two Grizz picks in last week's NBA Draft and came to town the day after to meet the press.

Speaking of which, here is the complete recap of what’s next for the Grizz now that the draft is done.

Cancel this week’s scheduled debate in Nashville among the Republican contenders for Governor.

The Memphis News Almanac: The Firm premieres, Thermostats at 78, Going to Market goes bankrupt and Bank of the Future in Fox Meadows.

PROPERTY SALES 56 56 9,658
MORTGAGES 49 49 10,665
BUILDING PERMITS 212 212 21,170
BANKRUPTCIES 49 49 6,157