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The Workforce Connection Conversation: Creating Partnerships for a Stronger Workforce

On Wednesday, October 25, led by the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACWorkforce) and the Greater Memphis Chamber, more than 25 private companies met with representatives from Shelby County Schools and several municipal school districts to discuss how the two groups can work together to improve and support career readiness in education.  Keynote speaker, State Representative Mark White (R-83), discussed the State of Tennessee’s efforts to attract more business to the Greater Memphis Region and how an improved pipeline of highly educated and well-trained citizens is critical to that effort.  Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson discussed strategies for coordinating industry sectors and clusters in Shelby County Schools’ Career and Technical Education Centers.  

The participating organizations joined in lively roundtable discussions to learn how schools and businesses can work together to create valuable partnerships.  “K-12 schools cannot be successful without community business involvement, parents, and the greater community at large,” said John Churchill, GMACWorkforce Vice President, Business Services.  “At GMACWorkforce, we will track and measure the effectiveness of these relationships and share our findings with each other.”

at Feb 14

MOVE-HIRE Program Gains Momentum

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, MOVE-HIRE is a tuition free skills training program, providing industry recognized credentials, and work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeships, on the job training, and internships to prepare participants for careers in the medical device industry. Through its partnership with the Workforce Investment Network, the MOVE-HIRE program identified the following number of people interested in careers within the medical device industry.

• Engineers: 166

• Packagers: 116

• Logistics Technicians: 112

• Quality Assurance:114

• Metal Finishers: 51

• Pre-Apprentice Machinists: 94

These individuals will be placed with MOVE-HIRE educational regional training partners to work towards certification and career placement.

at Oct 18

Building a Stronger Workforce GMACWorkforce aligns with EDGE

Building a Stronger Workforce GMACWorkforce aligns with EDGE

In April 2017, the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce’s (GMACWorkforce) proposal to align itself with EDGE. GMACWorkforce will join the Memphis and Shelby County Port Commission, the Depot Redevelopment Corporation, the Industrial Development Board, and Foreign Trade Zone 77 as entities managed and supported by EDGE. “In today’s world, workforce development is one of, if not the most critical factor in the community’s long-term economic vitality and the financial success of our citizens,” noted Willie Gregory, GMACWorkforce’s original Board Chairman and Director for Sustainable Business and Innovation for Nike. “I’m proud of all that GMACWorkforce has accomplished, particularly in such a short amount of time. As we were building the program, it became increasingly obvious that GMACWorkforce would be even more effective if we could align ourselves with a major economic development organization on the front lines of advancing the City and County’s economy. EDGE will be an excellent partner,” said Mr. Gregory. The GMACWorkforce alignment with EDGE will further strengthen the connection between the region’s workforce and economic development efforts and better link local residents to good paying jobs. “Economic development depends heavily on the workforce and the availability of that workforce. If our citizens aren’t trained for the jobs we provide for the community, their quality of life is severely impacted, as well as the companies we attract,” said EDGE Board Member, Cary Vaughn. “As an economic development organization, we are largely dependent on the success of our workforce partner. With EDGE working in tandem with GMACWorkforce, we are approaching economic development from a regional collective perspective and helping our core mission.” Created in late 2014 as a priority initiative of the Memphis and Shelby County Regional Economic Development Plan, which was administered by EDGE and prepared in collaboration with the Washington, DC-based Brookings Institution Policy Program, and the Greater Memphis Chamber Chairman’s Circle, GMACWorkforce’s mission is to close the skills gap by driving better alignment of training and education programs with employers’ long-term skill requirements along with delivering innovative new strategies and tools to help local citizens successfully navigate career pathways.

at Jun 21

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:

Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Nov 28 | 0 comments

Shawn Flynn: Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Restore Medical Solutions

Shawn started his career as a surgical assistant in the military.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 20 | 0 comments

Carleen Martin: Production Manager, Smith-Nephew

Carleen has been with Smith & Nephew for 18 years, starting her career as a Packager.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 19 | 0 comments

Leon Nguyen, Electrical Engineer, A2H

Leon design electrical power systems. He speaks about what he does and what he designs, the skills he's acquired over the years, and the levels you can go being an engineer.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 18 | 0 comments

Jackie Smith, Production Supervisor, MicroPort Orthopedics

Listen to Jackie Smith at MicroPort Orthopedics talk about her experience working as Production Supervisor. Hear about the importance of their products, her daily duties, and the path she's had at MicroPort.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 17 | 0 comments

Margaret Goodman, Machine Operator, Keeler Iron Works

Margaret talks about her experience working as a Machine Operator, what the job entails and where she went to school.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 16 | 0 comments

Kenneth, Industrial Designer, REES Memphis

Kenneth speaks about his experience working as an Industrial Designer.

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Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Oct 15 | 0 comments

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration and Panel Discussion

Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Apr 4 | 0 comments

President’s Update

President’s Update
Posted by Jennifer Littlejohn at Apr 3 | 0 comments