2018 // Workforce Development

Did You Know?

In the Chattanooga metro area, one -fifth of all jobs are in manufacturing.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 80% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions.

Chattanooga Business Workforce Development, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

(above) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, courtesy of  University of Tennessee at Chattanooga / Angela Foster

At the same time, they report that manufacturing jobs will increase over the next decade, from 12.5 million to 16 million. Chattanooga is expecting similar job growth in manufacturing – 10,000 new jobs are expected in Hamilton County over the next few years as a result of rapid expansion in advanced industries, especially automotive manufacturing.

As one of the top 10 metro areas for growing advanced industries, Chattanooga is preparing its workforce for this growth. Several public and private groups in Chattanooga are working to promote the knowledge and skills needed for these burgeoning industries. Learn about these initiatives here:

CHATTANOOGA 2.0 A private-public partnership led by the Benwood Foundation, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hamilton County Department of Education, and the Public Education Foundation (PEF), Chattanooga 2.0 is dedicated to transforming education and workforce opportunities in Hamilton County. Launched in 2016, their goal is to reach 75% postsecondary educational attainment by 2025. This means that in 10 years, three out of four Hamilton County students will graduate with a certificate, two-year degree, or four-year degree. In 2017, Chattanooga 2.0 defined their 10 Urgent Strategies, spanning birth to career, that will help reach the overarching goal of 75% by 2025.  They also announced the launch of a venture fund that will strategically allocate funds to support chosen programs aligned with their 10 cradle-to-career strategies.

THRIVE 2055 A regional partnership, Thrive 2055 is a public-private initiative involving the 16-county, tri-state region of Northeast Alabama, Northwest Georgia, and Southeast Tennessee.  An important aspect of their vision is to transform the region’s education process to ensure citizens are prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Chattanooga Business Workforce Development, Techtown

(above) TechTown, photo courtesy of TechTown

CITY OF CHATTANOOGA Along with providing employment workshops, the City of Chattanooga Department of Youth & Family Development (YFD) Career Preparation Center partners with TechTown to provide the Tech Workforce Program. This program teaches deserving adults, primarily ages 17-50, basic hands-on and experimental skills vital to local workforce demands, including coding, public presentation skills, and soft skills.

TechHire Initiative As part of the White House-backed TechHire initiative, the city has joined forces with local business partners and educators to determine the needs of employers, train new workers, and recruit candidates in underrepresented communities. Their goal is to ensure citizens have access to accelerated IT training and middle-class jobs.

The Enterprise Center Chattanooga’s publicly funded center for advancing innovation and new businesses offers Tech Goes Home Chattanooga to residents across Hamilton County to promote digital inclusion. The program offers free courses designed to help develop skills and habits required for smart technology and internet use.

CHATTANOOGA AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS The chamber’s workforce development programs bring together businesses and education-related organizations to address our region’s workforce needs. Programs include five initiatives that engage volunteers from the business community to reach 15,000 students each year in all 18 Hamilton County high schools.

TECHTOWN A technology and entrepreneurial learning center in downtown Chattanooga, TechTown offers year-round afterschool programs and camps for kids, ages seven to 17. TechTown offers 23,000 square feet of space dedicated to robotics, circuitry, 3D design software development, and film for kids to explore.


STEP-UP Chattanooga Designed to address challenges faced by students and businesses, STEP-UP places underrepresented Hamilton County 10th-12th grade students in paid internships with Chattanooga companies and public agencies. This program provides participants with work readiness training, on-the-job experience, professional mentors, advanced career opportunities, and ongoing support.

The PEF Innovation Hub To better educate students, the PEF Innovation Hub provides K-12 educators with innovative opportunities to grow as instructional experts, teacher leaders, and community connectors. By uniting K-12 schools, colleges, nonprofits, and business partners in a cooperative effort, PEF Innovation Hub helps provide students access to experiences that will prepare them for the future.  Additionally, through creative regional, national, and international partnerships, the innovation hub works to elevate the teaching profession by providing teachers with unfettered access to learning and networking experiences that showcase teachers’ talent and passion for delivering a top-rate education.

Volkswagen eLabs By providing state-of-the-art digital fabrication studios to Hamilton County public schools, Volkswagen eLabs engage students in engineering and environmental learning experiences. These labs provide access to rapid prototyping technologies, including CNC routers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers, and micro-electronics. By teaching design thinking strategies and engineering design principles that prepare students for the workforce, Volkswagen eLabs help equip students to become self-directed learners and critically think, empathize, collaborate, innovate, and problem solve.

Chattanooga Business Workforce Development, Chattanooga State Community College

(above) Chattanooga State Community College, Courtesy of Chattanooga State Community College

CHATTANOOGA STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE The college’s division of Economic and Workforce Development works directly with industries to train and educate workforces in areas identified by employers. This training can be customized to meet an employer’s specific needs. Among others, corporate training partners include Amazon, BASF, Gestamp, TVA, Volkswagen Chattanooga Operations, WACKER Polysilicon, N.A., and Whirlpool. By partnering with these employers, Chattanooga State delivers high impact, targeted training to meet real-time needs.

Polytech Academy at Chattanooga State Established in 2017, Polytech Academy offers high school students a hands-on environment. Selected to meet demands of local employers, concentrations include mechatronics, chemical engineering technology, building sciences, and cyber security. Students who attend will complete high school graduation requirements along with earning credit hours toward their Associate of Applied Science degree.


The UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science Workforce Development Center The goal of the UTC CECS Workforce Development Center is to ensure that all engineering and computer science students are marketable when they enter the workforce. The center assists students by helping them gain work experience and interpersonal skills. In addition, the center provides opportunities for students to be exposed to leadership and community service activities that broaden their learning experience.

UTC Challenger STEM Learning Center Formally aligned under the College of Education, the UTC Challenger Center has a strong relationship with the Hamilton County School System and many other public and private educational entities. Programs include simulated space missions that introduce students to real-world applications of STEM principles.

CLEVELAND STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S WORKFORCE READINESS CENTER To support economic development in the region, Cleveland State Community College has implemented programs for workforce training. A key part of this initiative is the OneSource Workforce Readiness Center, a state-of-the-art assessment and training center designed to identify, address, and close skill gaps that exist among the local industrial workforce. The center is designated as a National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) solutions assessment center. With this designation, Cleveland State works with local businesses and industries to assess workers for pre-employment, promotion, and training programs. Assessment results are then used to develop curriculum and training that build core competencies for different workforces.

Chattanooga Area Chamber Of Commerce

The Chattanooga Chamber’s mission is to champion member businesses and promote regional economic growth. Founded in 1887, the Chamber’s membership includes more than 2,000 companies. The Chamber Foundation, a separate but related nonprofit foundation established in 1969, delivers economic development, community, and leadership development services.

Annual Events

Mayors’ Business Breakfast
January 10, 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Small Business Awards Luncheon & EXPO Chattanooga
February 13, 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Leadership Luncheon
May 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Diversify 2018
Summer 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Chamber Annual Meeting
August 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Chamber Open House
September 2018
Chamber Offices, 811 Broad St.

Spirit of Innovation Awards
November 2018
Chattanooga Convention Center

Visit a different business the first Wednesday of every month for networking and refreshments at 8 a.m.

Visit a different business the third Thursday of each month for networking and refreshments at 5 p.m.

Chamber Ambassadors meet the second Tuesday of each month during lunch. For information about the Ambassadors program, contact Meredith Rivers at mrivers@chattanoogachamber.com or 423.763.4372.

The Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga (YPAC) meets the last Friday of each month at lunch.

For more information, visit ypchattanooga.org.