News

Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce Awarded $6M America’s Promise Grant from US Department of Labor

MEMPHIS, Tenn (November 21, 2016) – The Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACWorkforce) was awarded $6 million from the US Department of Labor through the America’s Promise Grant Competition. The winners were announced Thursday, November 17, 2016.

In the Memphis region, GMACWorkforce will administer the MOVE-HIRE Project. MOVEHIRE—an acronym for Medical device Occupations Value Education and Help In the Regional Economy—will focus on low-income and under-represented individuals over a four-year period and will address the lack of skilled manufacturing workers in the Memphis MSA. The project involves a strategic partnership of manufacturing industry leaders, training providers and workforce agencies that have committed to providing education, training, support services, and job placement assistance for more than 1,000 adults, and will help meet the demand for jobs in the regional medical device manufacturing sector.

According to industry leaders of the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council, the lack of skilled manufacturing workers is impacting their productivity and has hindered their ability to expand and grow. The lack of a qualified manufacturing workforce also greatly impacts the region’s ability to attract new manufacturing companies and suppliers to the area.

“The America’s Promise grant is a significant milestone in our organization’s short tenure and falls in line with our core mission as a workforce intermediary to help facilitate strategic partnerships that gives our regional workforce access to better jobs and opportunities,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, president, GMACWorkforce.

As part of the requirement for the America’s Promise grant, GMACWorkforce worked with industry and education leaders to create career pathways in advanced manufacturing for participants to advance their training and education to secure future, higher-paying jobs and careers in fields that are currently occupied by H-1B visa workers.

The grant will be led Pauline Vernon, Vice President, Workforce Systems Alignment, GMACWorkforce, and implemented by the following training and educational providers: University of Memphis, Arkansas State University Mid-South, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, and William R. Moore College of Technology. Employer and workforce support will be provided by: Greater Memphis Medical Device Council, Greater Memphis Chamber, Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Investment Network, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, and Workbay LLC.

“I am very excited to lead the MOVE-HIRE Project on behalf of GMACWorkforce and our regional partners, said Pauline Vernon. “The medical device industry is growing in this region and we need to be prepared to attract and retain great companies with a highly-skilled workforce.” Dr. Fenter added, “Pauline’s experience in employment-education alignment programs and facilitating strategic partnerships played a major role in securing this grant and will greatly impact our efforts to expand the medical device sector. I am confident that we will meet and exceed all project expectations.”

“This is exactly the kind of work that we created GMACWorkforce to facilitate, said Willie Gregory, GMACWorkforce Board Chair and Director of Global Community Impact for Nike. “We are very excited to help grow this extremely important sector in our regional economy.”

For more information: https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20161117

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