Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Chattanooga Among Cities Involved in New Worker Training Program

The Tennessee city is one of 16 across the nation selected to participate in a partnership that will help train workers for emerging industries, to diversify the talent pool and uplift underserved communities.

Chattanooga, Tenn., was selected among 16 cities across the country to participate in a new partnership to help train workers for emerging industries to diversify the talent pipeline and help low-income neighborhoods.

Chattanooga will focus its efforts on the growing clean energy industry, which is receiving a host of new incentives under the infrastructure measures adopted by Congress during the pandemic.

The National League of Cities, which is launching its "Good Jobs, Great Cities" academy, picked Chattanooga from among more than 200 cities that applied for the initiative.

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for these cities to take advantage of these unprecedented federal investments and catalyze them for long-term economic advancement," Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities, said in an announcement of the new initiative. "A decade from now, I think these communities will look back and recognize this as the moment the economic trajectory began to change for some of their most underserved populations."

Michael Bartlett, the manager for the program at the National League of Cities, said in a telephone interview Thursday the initiative will work to develop and coordinate the best ways of preparing workers for growing industries by building stronger collaboration among local governments, businesses, education and training providers, local workforce development boards and other community-based organizations.

"This is not a grant program, but it is an opportunity to help cities that know they have workforce challenges and needs and to help them best build that into their infrastructure projects that they may be receiving though other federal programs," Barlett said. "The cities selected for this program will get technical assistance, resources and tool kits jointly provided by our team as well as the Department of Labor. Through this program with these cities, we want to show all 19,000 towns and cities in America that you can embed good workforce policies no matter where you are."

Kevin Roig, a spokesman for Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, said in an emailed statement Thursday the initiative will include expanding some of the work-based training models already in place. The training initiatives will include apprenticeship programs, career and technical education and other earn-and-learn models, officials said.

"We hope our participation in the academy will lead to more opportunities for federal investments in our emerging clean energy space, in both infrastructure and transportation," Roig said. "Our goal is to create a comprehensive strategy for developing training that results in equitable access to good paying jobs for some of our most vulnerable communities."

The initiative comes as Chattanooga's unemployment rate hovers near historic lows and a record amount of federal grants and tax breaks have been provided to grow jobs and key industries from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Chips and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act.

In addition to Chattanooga, the other cities selected for the Good Jobs, Great Cities initiative include Birmingham, Alabama; Duluth, Minnesota; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Frederick, Maryland; Jamestown, New York; Kokomo, Indiana; Lansing, Michigan; Missoula, Montana; Monroe, North Carolina; Newark, New Jersey; San Antonio; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Saint Louis; Tacoma, Washington; and Tempe, Arizona.

(c)2023 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
TNS delivers daily news service and syndicated premium content to more than 2,000 media and digital information publishers.
Special Projects