The northwest Tennessee certified work-ready community initiative is part of a national effort to encourage those in the workforce to get ACT's National Career Readiness Certificate. Organizers hope to increase the number of local employers who require or recommend that applicants have the certificate before they are hired. The goal is to have more than 7,300 people in northwest Tennessee certified during the project and to bring on board approximately 270 employers supporting ACT WorkKeys Job Profiling and the National Career Readiness Certificate.
In June 2012, Tennessee was selected to join a multi-state consortium, the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a multistate initiative aimed to address the “skills gap” that threatens the preparedness of young Americans entering the workforce. Entrance into this consortium led to the founding of Pathways Tennessee. The mission of Pathways Tennessee is to provide Tennessee students rigorous academic/career pathways, which are linked to economic and labor market needs and trends.
LEAP works with educators and employers to identify and close skills gaps that hinder the economic development of communities throughout the state. In January 2015, THEC awarded $10 million in state-funded LEAP grants to twelve local programs across the state. The community-led partnerships, comprised of industry partners, postsecondary institutions, K12 educators, and workforce development professionals, were tasked with aligning educational training and postsecondary credentials with the needs of regional industry employers.
The Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board recently completed an Advanced Manufacturing Sector Analysis for the 19 rural counties of west Tennessee. The analysis identifies companies engaged in advanced manufacturing, job titles, wage information, job openings, projected growth, and classifies advantaged manufacturing sectors, including green jobs. This sector analysis serves as a valuable and accessible tool for workforce development professionals, economic developers, grant writers, educators, employers, and jobseekers.
The Northwest TN Workforce Board in Local Workforce Development Area 12 has developed a partnership with the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office to establish a “specialized” TN Career Center on the campus of the Dyer County Correctional Work Center (DCCWC). The 30-bed inmate correctional center opened summer of 2015, providing counseling on relapse prevention, drug and alcohol education, and socialization, to its male population.