Work is getting underway on the targeted industry study and workforce analysis both commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce as part of the Horizon Initiative plan.
The Chamber raised over $120,000 in order to receive $40,000 from each of the city and county governments as part of the plans and study to improve the local area's chance at bringing in additional jobs.
Sharon Young, left and Lana Suites, right of Younger Associates
Sharon Younger, president of Younger & Associates of Memphis heads the firm hired to do the studies and spent some time with local media to explain what they will be doing and how they will be doing it. Younger was visiting Crossville to look at the area and meet with stakeholders for the study including elected officials, chamber members and education leaders. In addition to Younger, the firm's research director Lana Suites was also part of the visiting team.
The firm will be making additional community visits and reports with the chamber and stakeholders including gathering information for an in depth study of the local workforce, their education and skill levels, barriers to employment, whether they are adequately or under employed and other information of interest to potential employers looking at Crossville.
One of the issues facing the community in attracting new companies is the available work force and their level of education. The firm will be interviewing a statistically valid sample of the population and these interviews will take place typically where a wide variety of the population goes such as shopping locations. These surveys are expected to take place in early April. Along with the work in the community, the firm will be using data from local state and federal data sources as well as other information in order to tie all the information together.
A bit later on in the process, the firm will return to meet with employers to ask them what they're needs are as well as what the capacity of the local education components to see if they have the necessary programs and capacity for what the employers say they are seeking.
Younger explained that the firm has already looked at the area and how employees travel from one county to another and the commute time. One interesting bit of information showed that even though many workers from surrounding counties traveled into Cumberland County there were also a number of workers who traveled out of Cumberland County to work. According to Younger, that information shows that if there were adequate jobs locally there is a group of the workforce that could take those jobs.
She said she had a positive impression of the community including the downtown and industrial area, both things that companies look for.