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University of Tennessee

Name of UC University of Tennessee EDA University Center
Location 193 Polk Avenue, Suite C Nashville, TN 37210
EDA Regional Office Atlanta
Year One 2017
Contact Beth Phillips, Economic Development Director ([email protected])
Principal Investigator(s) Kim K. Denton, CEcD, Director, [email protected], 865-974-8464
Website https://www.cis.tennessee.edu/economic-development/eda-university-center

The University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS) will engage university resources and strategic partners to strengthen capacity of the state’s workforce development systems to create and sustain high skilled jobs, particularly in rural areas. The target service region is 39 rural, economically distressed or at-risk counties, with a focus on those counties that have experienced chronic, long-term economic distress. This project will address critical needs to improve labor force participation and strengthen workforce alignment and capacity, which are hindering the ability of these counties to advance economic development. Labor force participation rates in service region counties are significantly below that of the state, and structural barriers are impacting participation, including among underrepresented populations. State and regional strategies point to ineffective alignment of resources within rural regions, and a need to strengthen capacity of practitioners and community leaders to address needs. This proposal builds on the University of Tennessee EDA University Center strength of partnerships and EDA investments to strengthen rural workforce systems and build economic resiliency, improve participation and equity in the labor force and help rural businesses attract and retain talent to support job growth and investment.


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