Friday, September 30, 2005

Congressional Delegation Announces Grant to Memphis Chamber for Regional Labor Study

Today, Congressmen Ford, Blackburn, Tanner and Berry announced the award of a $150,000 federal grant to the Memphis Chamber Foundation and the Memphis Regional Chamber to conduct a study on the Memphis regional labor force.

"The grant is designed to help communities produce a long-range economic development plan," said Ford. "With the plan, we hope to lay a foundation for the move from a workforce-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. By fostering technology, spurring innovation and supporting entrepreneurship, we will bring much-needed higher paying jobs to the region and have a positive impact on the entire state of Tennessee."

"Collaboration and teamwork at every level has made today's funding announcement a reality. It is through the work of the Memphis Regional Chamber, the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Partners in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi; the Local Workforce Investment Board for Shelby and Fayette Counties; and Southern Bank Development Corporation along with the grant from the Economic Development Administration that this study is possible," said Mike Philpot, Executive Director, West Tennessee Industrial Association and Chairman of the REDC.

"Further growth in and around Shelby County is great news for all of West Tennessee because of the industry it promotes and the jobs it creates," said Congressman John Tanner. "We are hopeful this initiative will help us more effectively utilize the resources our region already has to offer."

"I'm glad to have been able to work with my colleagues in Congress and our Memphis Chamber on this effort," Blackburn said. "We want to be sure our area's labor force is prepared for a 21st century marketplace, and that's what this is about."

"The main objective of this regional labor study is to prepare our region to attract and retain the highest and best possible jobs for our labor force," said Mary Singer, Vice-Chair for Regional Development at the Memphis Regional Chamber. "Ultimately, this type of preparation and knowledge gathering will change our regional economic environment so that we all achieve solutions and allow our resources to go further."

"In the era of globalization, we need to everything we can to help our local communities evolve and remain competitive," said Congressman Marion Berry. "I commend the Memphis business community for securing these important funds and for working hard to create new industries and jobs for the individuals in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi who play such a critical role in the region's economy."

"By awarding this grant to the Memphis Chamber Foundation and the Memphis Regional Chamber, the Economic Development Administration is acknowledging the value of developing a stronger region through partnerships. The breadth of this cooperative effort is best demonstrated through the collaboration among the chamber staff, the Regional Economic Development Council Partners and our Congressional Delegation," said John Moore, President & CEO, Memphis Regional Chamber.

Press Release from 9-29