NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville, a hot spot for work and pleasure.
“That’s why we’re attractive to people who are moving here to Middle Tennessee. That’s also why we’re attractive to people who were born and raised here and want to raise their families here,” says the Chief Talent Development Officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Stephanie Coleman. She’s seen both sides of the growth.
“I think there’s always the hometown advantage, right? There’s always the advantage of having existing relationships [and] knowing the landscape.”
But on the flip side Colemans explains, “We still have individuals who are on the sidelines. For some reason, they have not been able to access that growth and prosperity that our community is seeing.”
Focused on helping those locals, the Chamber has started a program called Nashville Reconnect that helps Nashvillians land jobs by removing barriers.
“Those barriers can be anything from transportation, to affordability, to child care, to paying for books, to they’re working multiple jobs and they just don’t have the time,” Coleman explains.
In 2019, the Chamber of Commerce trained over 160 people across the city to serve as Reconnect Ambassadors that help Middle Tennesseans take advantage of free assistance.
“[We’re] making sure those individuals have coaches that can help them navigate because it can be really overwhelming,” Coleman says.
The program is a system-wide approach that connects adults to the postsecondary education and credentialing opportunities they need to get to the next level which includes free tuition.
“More and more companies are looking at work and learn programs. Students can actually work for a company while they’re going to school,” Coleman explains, “And, that provides them an opportunity to have a foot in the door.”
While companies are looking to hire locals, locals need to learn where to look. That’s Nashville Reconnect’s purpose.
“That the individuals who are born and raised right here in Nashville, that they have those opportunities. That they are prepared with the skill sets, with the education, that they need to fill those jobs.”