Who We Are

Under the leadership of Mayor Andy Berke, the City of Chattanooga’s Office of Economic & Community Development has been a key part of the revitalization of Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial spirit. The Office of Workforce Development is a new division of this department, created to specifically focus on Chattanooga’s workforce. In the Office of Workforce Development, we believe that Chattanooga residents who want to work should be put to work, and we’re dedicated to helping them break down the barriers that might be keeping them either from employment or from a higher paying job.

Additionally, Chattanooga has tons of employers ranging from small businesses to corporate entities, and they all need skilled and educated employees to be successful. The Office of Workforce Development is committed to working with these employers to find out how they believe we can be better serving Chattanooga residents.

Our Mission

To get Chattanooga residents into high paying jobs by connecting them with the employment assistance, skills training, and education they need.

How We Got Started

In 2016, the National Resource Network Team prepared a report for Mayor Berke titled “Bridging the Gap: Affordable Housing and Workforce Development Strategies.” Through this report it became apparent that, though the city had made several strides in the realm of economic and community development, there had been no specific focus on bringing Chattanooga’s workforce up to par. Chattanooga has some of the highest income inequality in the nation; and, though our overall city unemployment rate is the lowest it’s ever been at 3.6%, there are pockets of communities in Chattanooga with unemployment rates that we’d like to see come down. Our city is even experiencing a labor shortage: there aren’t enough qualified people to fill the amount of jobs that we have open.

Mayor Berke brought in Kent Burnes as the Director of Workforce Development to work to lower the unemployment rates in some of our low income neighborhoods and to raise the overall income level in the city. Director Burnes firmly believes that affordable housing is not about bringing the cost of housing down, it’s about raising the level of income up to meet the cost of housing. The Office of Workforce Development was implemented by Mayor Berke to act as reinforcement to the work that the Office of Economic & Community Development has already begun.

What We Do

Entities all over the city are working on Workforce Development projects such as skills training, HiSET courses, technology literacy, excellency certifications, employment assistance, and more. Some are non-profits, some are businesses and unions, and some are our own City Government offices. One primary function of the Office of Workforce Development is to bring the people working on these efforts together to keep each other updated on our progress and our setbacks.

Our office has also started several workforce development programs of our own. These programs have a specific focus on residents who have a specific barrier to finding employment, such as single mothers and ex-offenders. Our largest program, the Workforce Outreach program, is a door-to-door campaign that helps us discover what kind of help our residents need when looking for a job.

ABOUT US>

The Office of Workforce Development is a new division of the Office of Economic & Community Development , created to specifically focus on Chattanooga’s workforce. In the Office of Workforce Development, we believe that Chattanooga residents who want to work should be put to work, and we’re dedicated to helping them break down the barriers that might be keeping them either from employment or from a higher paying job.

CONTACT >

423-643-7350
wfd@chattanooga.gov

Text WORKFORCE to 97779 to get free job, training, and education assistance by text message

T: 123-456-789
F: 123-456-7890

© 2018 by the City of Chattanooga's Office of Workforce Development.

 

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