NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Jeff McCord, who helped launch the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), has been recommended to become Northeast State Community College’s next president.

Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Chancellor Flora Tydings has recommended McCord, who was among four finalists for the job. He could be officially named as early as a called TBR meeting on Aug. 8.

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Jeff McCord

The board will consider the recommendation in a live-streamed event that begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time. If McCord is approved, he would begin his new role Oct. 1.

The job would be a return to a familiar place for McCord. After a 16-year stint at Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, the Georgia Tech graduate was Northeast State’s vice president for economic and workforce development.

TBR regent Miles Burdine chaired the Northeast State search committee, which pared its candidate list to four finalists in late June. The finalists participated in campus visits and open forums with campus groups and the public from July 11-14.

Tydings then reviewed input from Northeast State’s campus community and other stakeholders before making her final recommendation.

Burdine, the CEO of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, said the 17-member search committee interviewed 11 or 57 candidates and that the four finalists who visited all were excellent candidates.

“We as a committee are and I personally am excited, proud and very pleased that she is recommending … McCord,” Burdine said.

He called McCord’s background and skill set “unique.”

“His experience in industry, higher education and government offers a very bright future for our college and our region,” Burdine said. He added that McCord’s job leading the labor department through COVID-19 was among the most difficult posts in the state and that “he successfully led with strength, integrity and determination.”

“Dr. McCord was the top choice of the search committee and has a wide breadth of experience that I believe will help Northeast State continue to perform its missions to our students and the people of the broader region it serves,” Tydings said in a news release.

McCord helped get the RCAM off the ground about 11 years ago in Kingsport. The RCAM partners with Northeast State and provides an off-site teaching location for training a qualified technical workforce for the region’s manufacturing sector. 

McCord’s state bio says that in addition to leading the development of the RCAM, which opened in 2009, he also led the development of the state’s first registered apprenticeship program through a post-secondary institution.

He has been labor commissioner since Gov. Bill Lee took office in January 2019.