Memphis, Tennessee (Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023) — A regional coalition led by the Greater Memphis Chamber was today named a finalist for the $200 million Distressed Area Recompete Pilot Program (Recompete) by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).
The regional application, known as the “Prosper Memphis 2030 Recompete Plan,” requests roughly $20 million to diversify the local economy and build pathways into growth industries.
“Our selection for the next phase of Recompete is a major accomplishment for our region and an endorsement of the strategy we’re pursuing to create pathways to economic prosperity for all,” said Ted Townsend, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Memphis was this year named the largest majority-Black city in the nation, and our region is home to the highest concentration of Black tech talent in the nation. We are the Digital Delta, a region transformed, and we’re grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and the EDA for recognizing our efforts to grow this economy of innovation.”
Greater Memphis has the highest concentration of diverse tech talent in the nation, and this investment would accelerate the transformation of our Digital Delta region, whose capital is. We’re grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and EDA for recognizing our efforts to grow the region’s economy.”
Building on the work led by the Seeding Success initiative More for Memphis and the Chamber’s Prosper Memphis 2030 strategic plan, the plan lays out seven key, place-based strategies: 1) Build career pathways to establish a future-ready economy; 2) Radically scale existing tech training and wrap-around support systems necessary to complete training and begin work; 3) Increase childcare offerings in centralized locations; 4) Build employer capacity to better support high opportunity populations in their talent pipeline; 5) Support entrepreneurship for economic and physical mobility; 6) Refocus economic development incentives and entrepreneur resources into disinvested neighborhoods to create more equity and proximity to quality jobs; and 7) Revise and align policy to support people.
Read the full Prosper Memphis 2030 Recompete Plan here.
“This plan is about removing the barriers to prosperity for people across our region,” said Amity Schuyler, Chief Innovation Officer & Senior Vice President of Workforce Development for the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Greater Memphis is already one of the fastest-growing job markets in the nation, but people can’t always take advantage of those jobs because of a lack of skills, childcare, transportation, and other necessities. This plan is about transforming local workforce development to put people first.”
The coalition — a deep bench of stakeholders committed to creating a workforce ecosystem that is accessible to all — includes Christian Brothers University, CodeCrew, The Collective Blueprint, Delta Boule, NEXT Memphis, Seeding Success, Southwest Tennessee Community College, Start Co., Tech901, and the University of Memphis. As part of the Phase 2 planning, the coalition will bring additional partners to the table to ensure Memphis submits the most competitive proposal possible.
“If we want to end persistent poverty in our country and create a future-forward workforce where everyone can succeed, we have to invest in regions like Greater Memphis,” said Jamilica Burke, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer of Seeding Success. “We’re proud of the work we and our partners have already done to dismantle systemic poverty, and we are optimistic about receiving funding in the next phase of the program.”
The next phase of Recompete will select finalists for the $200 million in available funds, which are authorized by the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, Recompete is a key part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and aims to connect workers to good jobs in geographically diverse and persistently distressed communities across the country.
Read the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement here.
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 and workforce 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 memphischamber.com and memphismoves.com. Also, follow the Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, and sign up for its weekly newsletter, the Memphis Fourword.