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.