Workforce & Education - Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Jamie Stitt

Assistant Commissioner, Business and Workforce Development

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
312 Rosa L. Parks Ave., Nashville, TN 37243
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Workforce and Education

What we do best is what you do best.

Your competitive advantage is our level of craftsmanship, accomplished by skilled hands and passionate knowledge. We excel in those industries that rely on our greatest resource: a dedicated and highly skilled workforce. From global giants to homegrown startups, industry thrives in Tennessee.

To make the best products, you need the best people.

In Tennessee, we’ve created innovative workforce partnerships and game-changing education reform for skills in high demand. The result is a steady pipeline of qualified candidates.

Tennessee is leading the way nationwide in K-12 education reform. We have continued that momentum and expanded our focus to include post-secondary education through innovative initiatives including: Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE), Drive to 55 and the Tennessee Promise.

The Governor’s Investment in Vocation Education (GIVE) initiative, part of Governor Bill Lee’s legislative agenda, is a two-pronged approach to expand access to vocational and technical training for Tennessee high school students. The GIVE initiative invests $25 million in competitively awarded community grants that will fund regional partnerships between high schools, industry, and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) to build new work-based learning/apprenticeship programs, market-driven dual-credit opportunities, and the expansion of industry-informed career and technical education offerings.

Drive to 55 aims to bring the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. It’s not just a mission for higher education; it’s also a mission for workforce and economic development.

More than 88,000 students have enrolled in the Tennessee Promise, which commits to providing two years of community or technical college absolutely free of tuition and fees to graduating high school seniors on a continual basis. The first class of Tennessee Promise students entered school and the workforce training pipeline in the Fall of 2015.

We are the first state in the country to make this promise. It makes a clear statement to Tennessee families that education beyond high school is a priority in our state. It’s also a promise to current and prospective employers: When you bring your business to Tennessee, you’ll have the support of a devoted and highly skilled workforce.

Quick Facts


In the nation for population growth among the millennial workforce (U.S. News)

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Current students enrolled in college or graduate school

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Million people with an associate degree or higher

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Post-secondary institutions in Tennessee

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Increase in overall enrollment in Tennessee Public Higher Education from 2016 to 2019

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Million Tennesseans Over 18 with a High School degree or higher

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Million Tennesseans employed in June 2020

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Workforce Development: South Central Region  – Site Selection, 2019

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Job openings filled annually by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

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Graduates in engineering, engineering technologies and engineering-related fields, an increase of 41 percent since 2010

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Students in Tennessee were awarded over 84,400 degrees and certificates in 2019, in dozens of programs.

Workforce Development Solutions at Oshkosh in Jefferson City, TN

College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee


18,800 Tennessee Promise Students Enrolled in Fall 2019

We see Nashville as a game-changer in terms of our ability to source, develop and retain talent, provide a high quality of life for our employees, enhance our competitive edge ... and make a lasting impact on our new community.

- Seth P. Bernstein, President and CEO, AllianceBernstein
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Read up on all the details of the Workforce & Education of Tennessee.

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