Tennessee Manufacturers Works Seeks To Tackle Manufacturing Workforce Demands

Monday, January 25, 2016

Innovate+Educate, in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, on Monday announced the launch of Tennessee Manufacturers Works.  This effort has partners from the Chattanooga area – Tennessee Association of Manufacturers and Thinking Media – Learning Blade. This initiative is aimed at creating clear pathways to manufacturing jobs, with training and curriculum that is aligned to industry demands, said officials.  

Tennessee continues to show growth in manufacturing.  Data resources provided by Innovate+Educate, a national nonprofit focused on new pathways to employment, shows that as many as 12,000 jobs will need to be filled in Blount/Hamblen counties in the next four years.  This includes workers that will retire, and new jobs that will be created.  The project will focus on aligning employer needs (competencies) with the training in the region, working to provide assessments and job training to 250 candidates in 2016.  

"The urgency for creating new pathways to manufacturing jobs has never been greater," said Ryan Kish of the Alcoa Foundation.  "Tennessee has a strong manufacturing economy, but many jobs remain unfilled for months, signaling a need for better career entry points. Alcoa Foundation, with our partners at Innovate+Educate, Tennessee Association of Manufacturers, and Learning Blade are developing innovative fast track pathways to careers in manufacturing. We believe this model has the potential to be scaled nationally, resulting in effectively placing skilled talent into in-demand, well paying manufacturing jobs.”

Tennessee Manufacturers Works will leverage real-time labor market information, forecasting tools, and employer feedback on competencies to articulate the competencies required for high demand manufacturing jobs.  The effort will also focus on ensuring entry level workers have the ability to move into higher paying jobs within the field, assuring a promising pathways in manufacturing, said officials.     

"As we work daily with manufacturers across Tennessee, the number one concern we hear from CEO's and plant managers is the lack of availability of a skilled and dedicated workforce," said Tim Spires, president of Tennessee Association of Manufacturers.  "With the recent growth of manufacturing jobs in Tennessee, the increasing retirement of our skilled workforce, and the technical requirements of advanced manufacturing today, we are excited to be working with our partners in this effort. Tennessee Manufacturers Works will bring together industry, education, government, and community partners to build pathways to preparing our future workforce for great paying jobs in manufacturing." 

Stakeholders interested are invited to attend one of two launches to be held Tuesday at the TCAT in Knoxville at 10 a.m. and Morristown at 1 p.m.  For more information contact Megan King at mking@tennam.com or call 266-1902.  



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