Press Releases

Greater Memphis Chamber receives major grant to develop STEM workforce

Thursday, 15 June, 2023

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Thursday, June 15, 2023) – The Greater Memphis Chamber today announced its selection for a $447,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to form a coalition focused on preparing people for quality careers in the region’s rapidly growing advanced manufacturing industry.

The Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing in Memphis (CAMM), which is led by the Chamber and will include local education and industry partners, will work to develop the region’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce through various awareness, education, training, and credentialing initiatives, including summer calculus bootcamps and skills training bootcamps.

“We’re grateful to the Delta Regional Authority for recognizing the opportunity we have to create new pathways to prosperity for everyone in Memphis, which was just named the largest majority-minority city in the nation,” said Ted Townsend, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Memphis already has more than 43,000 people working at more than 1,100 advanced manufacturers, and we know thousands more of these jobs are in our pipeline. Our goal is to not only grow but grow equitably, and this grant – the largest the Chamber has ever received – will help us make that vision a reality.”

As part of its strategic plan Prosper Memphis 2030, the Chamber is working to add 50,000 jobs, 700 advanced industry firms, and 20,000 annual graduates/certificate holders per year through 2030.

The advanced manufacturing industry’s annual gross regional product – the value of goods and services produced in the Memphis MSA – has grown 18.4% over the past four years to reach $12 billion in 2022, according to the 2022 Advanced Manufacturing Industry Report from the Greater Memphis Economic Research Group (GMERG), the research and analysis arm of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Advanced manufacturing industry jobs are expected to grow 5% over the next five years in Greater Memphis, according to GMERG. But those estimates are based on historical trends and don’t include Ford’s BlueOval City electric vehicle manufacturing plant, which is being built in nearby Stanton, Tennessee. That $5.6 billion investment – which is the largest in the history of both the company and the state – is expected to create more than 6,000 direct, full-time jobs in the region and thousands of more indirect jobs with suppliers in upcoming years.

“Memphis has historically had a competitive edge when it comes to logistics, which makes us uniquely attractive to advanced manufacturers around the world,” said Amity Schuyler, chief innovation officer and senior vice president of workforce development at the Chamber. “These are higher-paying, higher-skilled jobs that in most cases require no college education. This is how we raise people out of poverty.”

CAMM will work to develop the STEM talent in the region by pursuing four strategies:

  • Strategy 1: Increase awareness of jobs, reduce barriers to education, and promote education and job opportunities through classrooms, work-based learning, and other immersion opportunities for teachers and students at all levels of the education system.
  • Strategy 2: Implement accelerated credentialing boot-camps for individuals living inside of opportunity zones that culminate in industry recognized credentials for entry level skills for advanced manufacturing jobs.
  • Strategy 3: Identify, recruit, and support Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students, particularly women, as engineering program candidates within calculus-ready summer boot-camps hosted at the postsecondary level.
  • Strategy 4: Convene a task force that includes the Chamber’s industry councils and other community organizations to identify viable solutions to support BIPOC, women, and other underrepresented individuals to enter advanced manufacturing career pathways.

As part of its Delta Workforce Grant Program, DRA is awarding $11.7 million to 28 projects across Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, including the Memphis Chamber Foundation. The grants are funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden and is a key part of his Investing in America agenda, according to the DRA.

“The Delta Workforce Grant Program makes targeted investments in initiatives and programs that support workforce employment and training needs in DRA’s region and helps create pathways to high-quality careers that allow residents to thrive and remain in their communities,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman, Dr. Corey Wiggins. “As a result of this investment, nearly 3,800 individuals are projected to receive industry-driven skills training for high-demand jobs in their communities, helping to strengthen local workforce ecosystems and economic vitality throughout the region.”

About the Greater Memphis Chamber: One of Memphis’ oldest institutions, dating back to 1838, the Greater Memphis Chamber is a privately funded nonprofit that serves as the region’s lead economic development organization and the “Voice of Memphis Business” on local, state, and national issues. The Chamber’s mission is to relentlessly pursue prosperity for all — through economic and workforce development, pro-growth advocacy, and by providing support and resources to its investors, which include many of the region’s largest employers. For more information about the Chamber, visit and Also, follow the Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up for its weekly newsletter, Memphis Fourword.