Greater Memphis Chamber to lead region’s workforce development

Memphis, Tennessee (Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023) —In partnership with Shelby County Government, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been named the interim fiscal agent and administrator for the Greater Memphis Workforce Development Board, greatly expanding the Chamber’s role in providing life-changing opportunities to unemployed and underemployed workers throughout the region.

The Chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday, Nov. 16, to take on the role of interim fiscal agent and administrator for the Greater Memphis Workforce Development Board for a six-month period. The local Workforce Development Board oversees federally funded workforce development programs in four West Tennessee counties: Shelby, Fayette, Lauderdale, and Tipton.

The Chamber will be responsible for administering and distributing federal funding for workforce development to regional vendors and ensuring local programs are compliant with all regulations.

“More now than ever before, the Chamber is guided by the principle that the only sustainable growth is inclusive growth,” said Ted Townsend, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “This collaboration with Shelby County Government lets us scale the work we’re already doing to equip people with the skills and training they need to prosper. In the months ahead, we look forward to continuing to serve our community, which was recently named one of the nation’s fastest-growing job markets.”

The Chamber and Shelby County Government have worked closely on a number of other workforce-related initiatives, including breaking down employment barriers for workers with criminal backgrounds.

“In 2020, Shelby County Government began working with the Greater Memphis Chamber to support small businesses during the most disruptive year in modern history,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. “In 2021, the Chamber supported our efforts to create more pathways to employment for individuals with a criminal record. Now, this joint venture builds on our shared promise to support a strong and diverse workforce. Through this collaboration, we can continue the important work of reimagining, rebuilding, and restoring economic opportunities for all residents in Shelby County.”

The Chamber will go through an onboarding process with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which is committed to providing ongoing support and assistance.

As the region’s lead economic development organization and “Voice for Business,” the Greater Memphis Chamber actively works with government, education, and nonprofit partners to develop the region’s workforce. One of the Chamber’s most successful recent programs is the Memphis Teacher Externship Program, which embeds teachers in companies relevant to their high school students for two weeks during the summer to give them a better understanding of employers’ job needs and opportunities.

The Chamber also plays an integral role in bringing workforce development funding to the region. Last year, the Chamber convened and became a backbone organization in the coalition that won the $21 million Good Jobs grant, the largest workforce development grant award in the region’s history. Earlier this year, the Delta Regional Authority awarded the Chamber $477,000 – the largest grant award in the Chamber’s 185-year history – for advanced manufacturing workforce development.

About the Greater Memphis Chamber: One of Memphis’ oldest institutions, the Greater Memphis Chamber is a privately funded nonprofit that serves as the region’s lead economic development organization and the “Voice of Memphis Business” on local, state, and national issues. The Chamber relentlessly pursues prosperity for all — through economic and workforce development, pro-growth advocacy, and by providing support and resources to its investors, which include many of the region’s largest employers. For more information about the Chamber, visit and Also, follow the Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up for its weekly newsletter, the Memphis Fourword.