Tennessee Workforce Innovation Award Nomination: Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership/Campbell Strong American Job Center
Contact Information of Individual Submitting Nomination
Nominator: Chris Cannon
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agency Name: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership/Campbell Strong American Job Center
Challenged with low unemployment and abundant economic growth in the Northern Middle Tennessee Workforce Area, a shortage of skilled labor exists. To address the workforce deficits in the region, Tennessee joined with the state of Kentucky to develop the Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership to leverage the talent pipeline of over 5000 soldiers and spouses transitioning out of Fort Campbell Army base annually. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development led the initiative to build a cohesive strategy aroundtwo states, two local workforce boards and a military installation. The Fort Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership (CSWP) is a one-of-a-kind program to create a multi-pronged recruitment and training strategy, across state lines, to increase the skilled assets of the transitioning soldiers and spouses. Through a federal grant awarded to Tennessee, a specialized American Job Center was created just outside the gates of Fort Campbell to serve soldiers and spouses by incorporating the AJC system into the Department of Defense. The partnership eliminates barriers to employment through the creation of the Campbell Strong Workforce Coin, valued at $5,000 to fund various training activities to credential their military skills into high demand occupations. Support services are offered to program participants, including spouses to eliminate barriers to employment such as assistance with daycare, business clothing, equipment and state certifications as no cost to the spouse.
The unique partnership is innovative through the development of ONE specialized American Job Center containing a single service provider selected by TWO states. Support of the program across the State line is unprecedented by community stakeholders, politicians and the command group.
The Campbell Strong Job Center is a specialized center assisting with transition to the civilian sector. CSWP staff offer a training program to help service members navigate online networking and job searching to include a professional photograph and the development of a LinkedIn profile.
Employer focus and development has been a key component of the CSWP grant and its success. Employer engagement, through on-the-job training is critical to provide the direct bridge to soldiers and spouses linking with regional business and industry.
Statement of results, accomplishments, impacts and any other appropriate information that demonstrates why the nominee's efforts were an exceptional contribution.
In the seven months since the Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership started, the program has experienced quantitative success. Over 400 individuals have been assisted including 317 transitioning soldiers and 98 spouses. Average wage of those exiting to employment is $22.80 while the median wage is $18.75.
Employer engagement is the backbone and success of the CSWP. Multiple employers have developed on-the-job training contracts and are project partners such as Hankook Tire, Bridgestone, LG, Hiller and Omni Financial.
However, the truest measure of success is with the soldiers and spouses themselves. For example, Cody Bailey was a transitioning service member who participated in Operation Next in the Industrial Technology Maintenance Course. Through CSWP, Bailey received assistance with transportation, training, LinkedIn and resume writing. Cody was placed on an OJT contract with United Power and offered Bailey a maintenance position.
Lindsay Altman is another success story. She is a spouse who has been receiving job search assistance and reimbursement for travel, day care and uniforms for her new position. Altman is currently using a temporary physical therapy license to work in Tennessee. She has accepted a position with Signature Healthcare as a PRN physical therapist making $55 per hour.
Other significant contributions
The Campbell Strong Workforce Partnership (CSWP) began operation in March 2019. Operating programs from different workforce boards across the TN/KY state line created significant hurdles. Executive directors from the Northern Middle Tennessee Workforce Board and the West Kentucky Workforce Board worked to develop a strategy and delivery model that would promote consistency and effective customer service for the project. To this accord, the Director's decided to hire the same organization to serve as the Career Service Provider.
Another startup challenge arose around the delivery of services to active soldiers. This was solved by the development of aMemorandum of Understanding between Department of Defense, the United Services Organization (USO), the Command Group at Fort Campbell and the CSWP.
Outreach and recruitment was an additional challenge. We had to develop marketing materials and gain approval form Fort Campbell protocol in order to deploy information to Army Community Services agencies. In addition, we had to educate the existing community and workforce partners on Fort Campbell that we were there to provide “value added” services and not to replace or duplicate any of the existing services. We had to work closely with the Garrison Command at Fort Campbell to overcome these hurdles.