City leaders, educators brainstorm improving Memphis workforce

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis leaders are brainstorming ways to fill thousands of job openings in the city with Memphians.

Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford, Jr. said those jobs sit empty because the Memphis workforce is not qualified to fill the positions.

Ford spent Tuesday leading a discussion with representatives from Southwest Community College, Moore Tech, Christian Brothers University, and the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce about how to train the Memphis workforce for these unfilled jobs.

"We all have the goal in mind. I think we just have to find the pathway and again it's going to take 2-3 years hopefully," Skip Redmond of Moore Tech said.

The average pay for the 16,000 unfilled jobs is $50,000 a year. More than 2,000 of those jobs pay $82,000 a year.

City leaders said the biggest obstacles the Memphis workforce faces in landing these high-paying jobs are training, transportation, and disqualifying factors (like felonies).

"We've identified that there are skill gaps that exist, and we have a strong workforce ecosystem working to address that alignment," Earnest Strickland of the Grater Memphis Chamber of Commerce said.

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