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Styles L. Hutchins Diverse Talent Retention Fellows will help to create a plan that will elevate Chattanooga as city where diverse talent can create a prosperous future after college and thrive as a professional through opportunities for upward economic mobility. This highly competitive fellowship will not only provide community benefit but also help elevate fellows in community leadership and provide access to networking and learning opportunities. While educational attainment has historically had the power to unlock workers’ potential for better job opportunities and higher pay, we believe that in order to recruit and retain educated young black talent, our community must do even more to level the playing field for upward economic mobility and prosperity of blacks in Chattanooga. Fostering both diversity and inclusion will ensure that we build a strong and vibrant workforce citywide.

Styles Hutchins was an educator, attorney, politician, entrepreneur and minister. Hutchins was originally from Lawrenceville, Georgia where he became the first African-American admitted to the Georgia bar. In his early twenties he grew frustrated with the racial atmosphere in Georgia and relocated to Chattanooga in 1881, where he found professional and political success. During his time in Chattanooga he opened and ran his own law practice at the age of 29, served in the Tennessee State legislature, and helped start and edit the first newspaper owned and operated solely by African-American men in Chattanooga -- The Independent Age.

In 1906, he was asked by Ed Johnson’s father to serve as his son’s attorney. As a result of this representation, Hutchins received death threats and was ultimately forced to flee the city that had been his home for nearly three decades.

Broad Fellowship Goals

To achieve this goal the Chattanooga Mayor's office in partnership with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, and selected college Fellows will launch this high caliber research and outcomes based project to identify and implement strategies to help attract, recruit and retain early career black talent in Chattanooga. This part time experience will help Fellows build connections throughout the city and encourage creative problem-solving in a collaborative environment. The Fellowship will also support career development of each fellow through mentorship, networking, and potential travel opportunities for learning. Additional Fellowship outcomes will include: 

  • Broaden participation of black professionals in city government for policy, research and leadership development experiences.
  • Help transform Chattanooga into a city known for recruiting, retaining and advancing young, black talent for careers and advancement opportunities.
  • Contribute to outcomes on citywide initiatives such as: Velocity 2040, ULGC Young Professionals and Chattanooga Dream - relative to achieving project goals.
  • Accelerate job placement for black university graduates within 6 months of graduation and after the first year of the Fellowship's project plan's implementation.


Potential candidates for the Fellowship are black undergraduate students in the second semester of their junior year, any semester of their senior year or first year graduate students. Applicants must be in good standing with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Candidates should possess a specific passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and enjoy civic involvement.

A selection panel from the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, and the City of Chattanooga will identify and select Fellows for participation.


Fellows will receive $15 per hour for 16-week (part-time) period and up to $400 for travel and professional development reimbursement.

Fellows will collectively manage a budget of $5,000 for execution of research and project planning over the course of the Fellowship.

In the Fall of 2019 and Spring of 2020 the City of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga will partner to house a total of six Fellows from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to research, design and begin implementation of their plan to attract and retain black college graduates to live and work as young professionals in the Chattanooga area.

The Fellowship will be begin in September of 2019.

Fellows will receive

  • $15 per hour for 16 weeks of part-time work
  • Funds for travel and professional development reimbursement
  • Funds for project implementation

Fellowship Benefits

  • Access to leadership at the City of Chattanooga, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, and Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Access to Professional Networks
  • Project and Career Coaching Mentorship
  • Leadership Development Prestigious Paid Fellowship Career Placement Support
  • Opportunity to Pursue Research, Collect Data, Recommend Strategies and Lead
  • Opportunities for regional travel
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