Innovate+Educate, Alcoa Foundation and partners launch initiative with a focus on Hamblen and Blount Counties for new pathways to manufacturing jobs

KNOXVILLE, TN – Today, Innovate+Educate, in partnership with Alcoa Foundation, announced the launch of Tennessee Manufacturers Works.  This initiative is aimed at creating clear pathways to manufacturing jobs, with training and curriculum that is aligned to industry demands.
Tennessee continues to show growth in manufacturing.  Data resources provided by Innovate+Educate, a national nonprofit focused on new pathways to employment, shows that as many as 12,000 jobs will need to be filled in East Tennessee in the next four years.  This includes workers that will retire, and new jobs that will be created.  The project will focus on aligning employer needs (competencies) with the training in the region, working to provide assessments and job training to 250 candidates in 2016.
"The urgency for creating new pathways to manufacturing jobs has never been greater. Tennessee has a strong manufacturing economy, but many jobs remain unfilled for months, signaling a need for better career entry points. Alcoa Foundation, with our partners at Innovate+Educate, Tennessee Association of Manufacturers, and Learning Blade are developing innovative fast track pathways to careers in manufacturing. We believe this model has the potential to be scaled nationally, resulting in effectively placing skilled talent into in-demand, well paying manufacturing jobs,” said Ryan Kish of the Alcoa Foundation.
Tennessee Manufacturers Works will leverage real-time labor market information, forecasting tools, and employer feedback on competencies to articulate the competencies required for high demand manufacturing jobs.  The effort will also focus on ensuring entry level workers have the ability to move into higher paying jobs within the field, assuring a promising pathways in manufacturing.   
"As we work daily with manufacturers across Tennessee, the number one concern we hear from CEO's and Plant Managers is the lack of availability of a skilled and dedicated workforce.  With the recent growth of manufacturing jobs in Tennessee, the increasing retirement of our skilled workforce, and the technical requirements of advanced manufacturing today, we are excited to be working with our partners in this effort. Tennessee Manufacturers Works will bring together industry, education, government, and community partners to build pathways to preparing our future workforce for great paying jobs in manufacturing,” said Tim Spires, President, Tennessee Association of Manufacturers.
Stakeholders interested are invited to attend one of two launches to be held Tuesday, January 26 at the TCAT in Knoxville at 10 a.m. and Morristown at 1 p.m.  For more information contact Megan King at or call 423-266-1902
About Innovate+Educate
Innovate+Educate (I+E) is a national, non-profit organization implementing evidence-based, employer-led strategies to drive competency-based training and hiring for in-demand jobs.. For more information, visit
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.
Media Contacts
Noah Garrett, NGC Communications on behalf of TN Manufacturers Works:
Suzanne van de Raadt, Director, Global Communications, Alcoa Foundation