To welcome the New Year, we sat down with Commissioner Bill Hagerty and incoming Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd to get their take on the top economic development trends to watch for in Tennessee in 2015.

1. Tennessee will continue to see strong growth in capital investment—of which our state has attracted more than $15 billion in private sector commitments over the past four years—building on the 210,000 net new private sector jobs added in Tennessee since 2011.

2. More capital-intensive industry will demand a more highly trained workforce.

3. In the fall of 2015, approximately 25,000 new students will enter technical and community colleges free of charge under Governor Haslam’s Tennessee Promise—about 68% will be the first in their families to go to college—an initiative that will drive Tennessee’s reputation forward as the state with the most skilled workforce in the nation.

4. In 2015, under Governor Haslam’s RECONNECT program, every adult can attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology and earn certificates to qualify them for many high skilled high paying jobs and they can do this free of tuition and fees.

5. Crude oil prices, at their lowest since 2009, will remain low through 2015 giving a further boost to Tennessee’s thriving transportation and logistics sector.

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