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August 04, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Two Memphis-based organizations are only Tennessee winners in EDA’s “Good Jobs Challenge”

Two proposals – one focused solely on Tennessee and the other part of a multi-state consortium – are among 32 industry-led workforce training partnerships across the country to receive grant awards under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) $500 million “Good Jobs Challenge” funded by the “American Rescue Plan.” The announcement of the winners was made earlier this week for the program designed to enable communities to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that will secure job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans.

The two recipients, both based in Memphis, are:

  • Persevere which received $15.4 million for workforce development in the information technology sector in Middle and West Tennessee; and
  • The Mid-South Center for Occupational Innovation which received $21.5 million for its efforts focused on building and construction, manufacturing, transportation, distribution, and logistics inArkansas, Mississippi, and West Tennessee).

According to the EDA announcement, Persevere will “support local technology firms and provide good job opportunities by scaling its model for training justice-impacted Americans through intensive skills training and work-based learning. The Tennessee Technology Workforce Alliance’s system is employer-driven, with employers including Banyan Labs, Epic Games, and ProTech committing to design curriculum, train instructors, provide on-the-job training opportunities and hire graduates. Persevere has also secured partnerships with the Tennessee Department of Correction to start training individuals who are currently incarcerated and with community-based organizations such as Ladies of Hope Ministries which has a history working with Google to foster tech pathways for formerly incarcerated women.”

The Mid-South Center for Occupational Innovation will partner with local employers to “support growing industries in the rural South by establishing one-stop Accelerated Skills Training centers in East Arkansas, North Mississippi, and West Tennessee. By working in partnership with Ford Motor Company, the project will support the growing electric vehicle industry following Ford’s announcement that it will build a multi-billion-dollar facility in western Tennessee. This project will also strengthen American supply chains by creating a pipeline of skilled workers for employers like FedEx, whose World Hub in Memphis is the centerpiece of its global distribution and delivery operations. Its backbone organizations—Greater Memphis Chamber (manufacturing), University of Memphis (transportation, distribution, and logistics), and Moore Tech (building and construction)—will work in close partnership with local employers and community organizations to ensure training programs quickly lead to the skilled workforce needed for the region’s economy to expand in the coming years.”

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