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Chamber of Commerce Office
At their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 11th, the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce discussed the Younger Associates report, “Target Business Sector & Workforce Analysis”. This extensive report was almost two years in process since the public sector funding was committed in July of 2015 and fundraising was completed in June of last year. The report looked at a number of factors impacting our community’s ability to attract new companies and help grow the companies already here. Here are just some of the report’s highlights:
- In the ten counties making up the Cumberland County Labor Shed (where employees come from), Cumberland County loses more folks going to work out-of-town than those who are driving here for work.
- Cumberland County’s estimated population is 58,811; but, while we will continue to grow, our growth rate has slowed since 2010 and we will continue to lag the rate of growth in the State of Tennessee.
- An estimate of the total labor shed is roughly 327,000 people.
- Cumberland County has a wealth of higher education institutions that serve the 10 county labor shed.
- The study found that there is a “potential part-time hidden labor supply” in groups:
- Age 18-64 (not employed but interested in working part-time) estimated at 11,916
- Retired (but interested in working part-time) at 4,482
- Only 25.9% of people who are currently employed are interested in training for new job skills; a smaller portion than found in other labor shed areas,
- Most people who have a second job are self-employed in their second job (60.3%)
- Of those not currently employed, but interested in finding work, only 9.1% cited disability as the reason for not being employed-other surveys have found this number to be as high as 40%.
- From surveys of those 65+, approximately one quarter of retirees would be willing to help recruit their former business to locate in Cumberland County and about the same amount would be interested in mentoring and helping to educate students about career paths.
- Fabricated metal product manufacturing
- Electrical equipment component manufacturing
- Motor vehicle manufacturing (mid to long-term)
- Wood product manufacturing
- Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing
This is far from an exhaustive listing of information contained in the report; but, now the question is, what are the next steps? Chamber President, Brad Allamong indicated, “We now have in our possession a report that can guide us in determining our most valuable resource-our people-to prepare them for the jobs of the future. Clearly, some of the work is already well underway with the Frontline Leadership Training Program (starting its third program this week), and discussions with the education partners who have been meeting on a regular basis for the past three years.”
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The initial work will be to farm out the report to various groups, the Chamber’s Workforce Development Council, the 40+ contributors to the Horizon Campaign that paid for the study, the recently formed Executive Managers Group, and others to get their input and response to guide the Chamber Board in setting priorities and unfolding position statements in various areas.
The Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce Board took formal action to accept the report as was presented by Younger Associates and deemed that the staff could immediately expedite payment of the remaining fees owed for services rendered under the agreement. Vicki Baucum, Chairman of the Board stated, “With the additional 80 hours pledged by Younger Associates in their response to our RFP, work will be able to continue as we review this data in detail with our various study groups-especially in the area of education preparedness and priming the pump for local industry’s needs in a pool of ready-to-go employees.”