Growing the Memphis Middle Class

Growing the Memphis Middle Class

There is a concerted effort in Memphis to provide a trained workforce named the “Workforce Partnership”. It is composed of the Greater Memphis Chamber, the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW), and the Workforce Investment Network (WIN). It was created in November of 2014 with the purpose of addressing the gap between available jobs, available training programs, and the unemployed and underemployed in Memphis.

The partners meet weekly to discuss a variety of workforce challenges and needs including:

  • Employer needs
  • Status of participants in training programs
  • Efforts to make the community and employers aware of training programs
  • Community engagement efforts

Photo Credit: Ohio AFL-CIO via Compfight cc
“With this partnership, more people will be hired for great jobs and that is key to growing our middle class in Memphis. Together, we can see where the gaps and challenges are and address them more effectively, creating more success for our employers, and putting people to work,” said Phil Trenary, President and CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber.

After a year determining the best approach, the program is expanding to include local churches. It launched their first joint community engagement effort in mid-September with a pilot program where area churches will host participants from their congregations who are unemployed. The partners will have staff members connect participants to job opportunities, training, and support services. The churches are chosen based on geographic location and they will take an active role in helping to assist with connecting people to available job resources.

A primary strategy of the partnership is getting the word out and making sure it can meet people where they are. Instead of sitting in their offices waiting on the unemployed to show up, the partners want to take services directly to the people that need them the most. Rather than take a “committee” viewpoint of what is needed, the goal is working with those who are already in the community to better understand the challenges that job seekers face.

“Our workforce system must play an active role in community and economic development and that work is only done through collaboration. Partnering with our business and faith-based communities to help transform the way we connect job seekers to employers is just a part of how WIN is ensuring that more people are getting the skills they need to gain employment,” said Kevin Woods, Executive Director, Workforce Investment Network.

This program will be a win-win for Memphis by providing improved middle-income employment opportunities for the workforce and trained employees for employers.

Please leave a comment if this article was helpful or if you have a question.

Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for nine years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest in the Olympic Mountains with the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.

Brian Kline

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