The Chamber and the Division of College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) of Shelby County Schools are teaming up for a partnership that aims to align training programs in the state’s largest public school system with the needs of local employers. The goal of the partnership is to ensure that the types of training programs available in the school system directly connect to career opportunities available in the regional market.
“In our work to create transformational change in this city, it is critical to have the full weight of the business community committed to helping guide, shape and support our state’s largest school system,” said Beverly Robertson, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “As the voice of the business community, we can help ensure that the training programs available in our schools are training our children for the jobs available in the marketplace today and equipping them with the skills they will need for the jobs that will be available in the future.”
Through the agreement, the Chamber will participate in an advisory group to help plan, evaluate, implement and continuously improve the district’s career pathways training programs.
Sixteen Chamber member companies have already signed on to partner with CCTE as part of a new effort to enhance the district’s offering around certificate programs that can provide alternative career pathway options for students. The Chamber will encourage member companies to participate in the partnership in a number of ways including responding to a survey later this spring to help identify available local jobs and the skills needed to fill them.
Atlantic Track’s Angela Massey introduces Aramis Harris, one of the company’s new hires from the CCTE program at Southwest Career & Technical Training Center. Southwest is one of CCTE’s most successful training locations.
Other partners include Atlantic Track, Barnhart, Church Health YMCA, Crown Plaza Downtown Hotel, Jordan Aluminum, Memphis & Shelby County Airport Authority, Memphis Tomorrow, MLGW, National Guard Products, Peabody Hotel, ServiceMaster Clean, Smith & Nephew, The Redwing Group, Unistar Spark, West Tennessee Home Builders Association and WIN.
Interested in getting involved? Contact us.
In addition, a task force of members of the Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle has challenged the Chamber’s largest employers to participate in Shelby County Schools Adopt-a-School program. The group hopes to have ten companies adopt schools for the 2019-2020 school year.
“As the voice of the business community, we can help ensure that the training programs available in our schools are training our children for the jobs available in the marketplace today and equipping them with the skills they will need for the jobs that will be available in the future.”
– Beverly Robertson, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber
“Our partnership with Greater Memphis Chamber will open doors for both our students and Shelby County employers”, said Dr. Joris M. Ray, Shelby County Schools Interim Superintendent. “To ensure the success of our students, our neighborhoods, and our economy, we must continue to work together to train our students to excel in today’s high-demand jobs, and we are immensely grateful to President Robertson and the Chamber for providing their resources, insight, and connections.”
“‘Will I have access to the workforce I need to fill the jobs I have?’ that’s the number one question companies ask when they are evaluating whether or not they want to invest or grow their footprint in the market,” Robertson told a group of students, educators and business leaders at the partnership agreement signing. “This is the number one issue cities across the country are facing: How can we prepare our children for the jobs available today and the jobs that will be available in the future? In Memphis, Tennessee, we are committed to working together with the community to address that challenge. We want Memphis to be a model for the rest of the world when it comes to workforce training.”
CCTE got a major overhaul over the past two years when district leaders made a commitment to increase the number of students earning a work certificate before graduating from one of the county’s 200+ schools. One of the top priorities of the redesign was to align programs to high-need and high-paying jobs in Memphis.
Early results show efforts have already started to pay off.
In 2017, only 120 students districtwide graduated with a work certificate. In the 2017-2018 school year, CCTE produced 350 certificates. As of April 23, 1,873 students have received certificates through a Shelby County School CCTE program for the current school year and the district is on track to hit 2,000 certifications by June.
CCTE currently offers 40+ pathways across all Shelby County high schools with 30+ college level courses and more than 30 career certifications available in high demand industries.
The Chamber partnership will help the district further its goals and expand its reach in developing programs and direct pipelines for students to jobs in the region, helping make sure students are connected to opportunities after receiving their certificate.
“Having the business community work hand-in-hand with the district will ensure that we are aligning the needs of employers with the skills and training we are providing to our young people,” said Ernest Strickland, the Chamber’s Senior Vice President of Workforce Development.
About the Chamber’s Workforce & Talent Initiative
The CCTE partnership is part of the Chamber’s Workforce & Talent Development initiative aimed at creating greater alignment within the Memphis Workforce ecosystem. In October, the Chamber will convene a two-day Workforce Summit aimed at upskilling 10,000 recent graduates, currently un- or under- employed individuals and connecting them to vacant positions over the next three years by leveraging partnerships, training and other tools.
The Workforce Summit will take place October 22-23 and will include a keynote presentation from Mark Muro, Senior Fellow and Policy Director – Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute.
The Chamber’s helps host Manufacturing Day each September, an opportunity that helps expose area high school students to exciting career opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing. In 2018, more than 500 students and 16 Mid-south manufacturing companies participated in the day-long program.
Interested in getting involved with the Workforce Summit? Contact us.
Interested in sponsoring the Workforce Summit? Contact DeQuanda.
The Greater Memphis Chamber’s mission is to rally the leadership, experience and resources of the business community in a united effort to help our companies and communities grow and thrive, creating jobs and prosperity for our region and improving the livability of the city for all citizens. We are the lead marketing agency for economic development and business growth in Memphis and Shelby County and offer programming to support Workforce & Talent Development, Business Growth, Attraction & Retention and Public Policy.
Ready to get #InvestedInMemphis? Learn more about the Chamber’s work and how you can get involved.