Elected officials meet with business owners, innovative leaders
MEMPHIS – House and Senate Democrats kicked off their statewide jobs tour Monday with events in Memphis and Brownsville addressing education, infrastructure and job training.
“We heard about how Tennessee is a great environment for business, but we also discussed the economic and educational hurdles to job growth that exist throughout the state,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis.
Members of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce joined representatives from Autozone, ServiceMaster, Belz, Medtronic, Monogram Foods, Fogelman Management, Smith & Nephew, the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and the Memphis Workforce Investment Network for a breakfast roundtable with House and Senate members.
The discussion centered on the need for clearer career paths in the state’s education system in order to streamline transfers and increase the number of college graduates. Several employers noted there is a growing gap between jobs coming to the state and the workforce’s current skill set.
“We are hearing from employers that job creation and education go hand-in-hand,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley. “As state lawmakers, we can play a role in creating educational opportunities that increase job opportunities.”
Monday afternoon, jobs tour officials toured the West Tennessee Megasite as well as the University of Tennessee Solar Farm, two of the largest economic development sites for West Tennessee. Elected officials spoke with supervisors to find out the next steps in putting Tennesseans to work at both sites.
“The West Tennessee Megasite is our region’s greatest chance to attract the same kind of major investment we have seen with Volkswagen and Hemlock,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairman Lowe Finney of Jackson. “West Tennessee deserves the same kind of opportunity that other areas of the state have enjoyed.”
On Tuesday, the jobs tour continues in West Tennessee with stops in Jackson, Martin and Dresden. Media availability Tuesday will be held at noon at the Tour Residue Regency Pad Corporation, 480 Public Wells Road in Martin.
For more information on the tour, call (615) 812-2157.