Southwest and Chamber partner to scale credentialing for justice-impacted population

By Marketing and Communications Staff
Southwest and Chamber partner to scale credentialing for justice-impacted population The Greater Memphis Chamber has announced its selection by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) as one of nine organizations to participate in a workforce development program focused on increasing credentialing for people impacted by the justice system, and Southwest is one of the partners in the program. 
In its announcement, the Chamber stated that as part of the ACCE Equitable Credential Attainment Cohort, the Chamber and its partners — the Shelby County Office of Re-Entry, TCAT-Memphis, and Southwest Tennessee Community College — will work to help Memphians convicted, incarcerated, detained, or otherwise affected by the justice system to earn industry-approved credentials that will qualify them for high-quality skilled careers. A sub-grant will help the cohort make Memphis a nationally recognized model for justice-impacted credentialing. 
“Our goal is to make Greater Memphis a place where anyone can secure a high-quality job, lead a productive life, and provide for their family,” said Ted Townsend, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “Memphis already has more jobs today than at any time before the pandemic and is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the nation thanks to our robust pipeline of economic development projects. This program will accelerate and amplify this region’s work to create more pathways to prosperity for all, and especially for people who are looking for a second chance.”

According to the Chamber, ACCE Foundation and American Association of Community Colleges identified the cohorts from nine cities or regions. Each team comprise a chamber, a community college partner and an organization that directly represents the community. Lumina Foundation provided a grant to jumpstart the partnership. The Memphis cohort will first identify the barriers to credential attainment and create quick-win solutions to address those challenges. They will join teams from eight other regions to gain access to national subject matter experts, receive customized technical assistance and engage in peer-to-peer learning activities to create a strategy for longer-term collaboration to build momentum after the grant period ends.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with the Greater Memphis Chamber to empower fellow Memphians affected by the justice system by offering life-saving credentials,” said Amy Shead, associate vice president of Workforce Development and Career & Technical Education. “This workforce initiative is poised to open doors for enhanced social and economic mobility for justice-involved individuals through upskilling and reskilling programs.”

The other communities participating in the program include: Augusta, Georgia; Lafayette, Louisiana; Moore County, North Carolina; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Odessa, Texas; Sumter County, Georgia; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; York County, Pennsylvania.