Chattanooga State Celebrates Workforce Development Month

September 23, 2020 | Betty A. Proctor | Internal Press Release

workforce development month

September is National Workforce Development Month. Introduced in 2005, Workforce Development Month helps to bring awareness to the value of workforce development programs and the services provided to a growing national economy. To meet the needs of our local economy, Chattanooga State’s Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) team keeps businesses up to date on new equipment, technology, and processes that are critical to business success by providing training solutions to address skill gaps, productivity issues, staff development, strategic planning, and more.

The Chattanooga State EWD team includes faculty members, leadership teams from academic divisions, and highly qualified professionals with extensive backgrounds in business, manufacturing and education. Services are typically provided at the business facility or at one of three Chattanooga State instructional sites.

“The pandemic has only increased the need for our services throughout our service area,” stated Bo Drake, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development. “More and more residents are finding it necessary to acquire new skills, while our employers demand for skilled employees continues to increase. We are committed to both, to ensure we are creating access to opportunity and ensuring our employers talent pipelines are ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

In 2019, Chattanooga State EWD began a college-sponsored apprenticeship program that provided in-class and on-the-job training that led to direct-hire, full-time employment. The success of this program led to the expansion of opportunities into Rhea and Marion counties.

Rhea County received a $50K Three-Star Grant for Workforce Development to support Skill Up, a 12-week workforce training and certification program through Chattanooga State’s SETWorks (Southeast Tennessee Works). This program prepares individuals with technical knowledge, hands-on skill, and increases the talent pipeline for local employers thereby reducing training efforts while improving retention.

An innovative partnership between Chattanooga State, Valmont Industries, and Marion County Schools resulted in Valmont Industries hiring eight high school students from Marion County Schools to participate in the official Pre-Apprenticeship program. Upon successful completion of CTE in-class and on-the-job training at Valmont, students earned the opportunity to enter one of Chattanooga State’s Registered Apprenticeship career pathways in Industrial Maintenance or Welding.

Skill Up and apprenticeship programs are just two examples of the customized training programs that keep organizations active and thriving while building tomorrow’s workforce today. Chattanooga State provides outstanding facilities and state-of-the-art equipment in its Engineering Technology and Technical College labs to help keep client associates at the top of their field.

To learn more about how Chattanooga State’s Workforce and Economic Development division can assist your company with customized training solutions, call (423) 697-3100 or visit