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  • Attracting and Retaining Middle Tennessee's Top Talent

    by Alex Hughes | Oct 20, 2014
    Projections indicate that, by 2021, Middle Tennessee will lack as many as 35,000 workers to fill the jobs that are coming to our region. We know the majority of jobs in the coming decades will require a college degree or professional certification. One of our top priorities is to proactively address this by increasing the number of Middle Tennesseans with the skills, training and education they need to take advantage of our region's job growth. Through the work of our Vital Signs Action Team, the Middle Tennessee Workforce Alliance and our overall talent attraction and retention strategies, we are filling skills gaps, tackling the future workforce shortage and helping maintain our regional economic competitiveness.

    According to a recent USA TODAY analysis, IT workers such as computer engineers and software developers are expected to be among our nation's most lucrative and in-demand professions in the next three years. This is great news for anyone currently majoring in computer science, but it also builds a strong case to encourage those who may be considering additional training to pursue a career change. In the Nashville region, our economic growth in the past several years has been spurred, in part, by our vibrant tech ...
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    Category: Workforce
  • Tracking Our Progress on the Drive to 55

    by Laura Moore | Oct 17, 2014
    There’s an old saying that goes, “What gets measured gets done.”

    Last week, the Nashville Area Chamber released the 2014 Nashville Region’s Vital Signs report to the Middle Tennessee Mayors' Caucus.  Vital Signs is a way for our region to take an annual snapshot of how we’re doing and identify areas in need of action. The goal is to learn from what we’re doing well and address areas of opportunity to ensure that Middle Tennessee remains a place where natives and newcomers want to live, work and play.

    This year’s report highlights a lot of good news: our economy is strong and getting even better, more and more people are choosing our region as a place to live, our cost of living remains low while incomes increase, and our residents are more likely to be civically engaged than people in our competitor regions.

    For all the good news, the report also highlighted areas that must be addressed if we want to remain a region of choice.   

    One of these areas continues to be the need to increase the number of Middle Tennesseans who hold a degree after high school. When we look to 2021, we project we will be ...

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  • YP Nashville Helps Hundreds of Young Professionals Find Their Fit

    by Alex Hughes | Oct 17, 2014
    Guest post by Amanda Wyler Mazzo, Mazzo Media, Chamber member since 2014 and 2014-2015 YP Nashville chair

    I look forward to fall every year. Not only for the cooler weather, fun holidays and pumpkin spice, but also because of the Chamber's YP Nashville Connect – one of my favorite events! Where else can you meet people, discover opportunities to get involved, and take home some neat swag all in one night?

    Rocketown was filled with old friends and new faces on October 16! In case you weren't there, here's some of what you missed:
    • Delicious bites from Blue Coast Burrito, Chick-fil-A, Grillit, Doorstep Delivery and 312 Pizza Company and refreshing beverages from Jamba Juice, Kickin' Coffee & Tea, Blackstone Brewery and One Hope Wine
    • Slap-koozies from the Iroquois Steeplechase Alliance
    • A chance to win a new bike from Regions Bank
    • Playing a theremin at the Adventure Science Center Young Professionals booth
    • Creating “street art” at the 12th & Broad booth
    • An invitation to Nashville Junior Chamber's after-party at Czann's Brewing Co.
    • Unique networking opportunities with fellow young professionals and community organizations

    Because this was the fourth event of its kind, the best part was to see how much YP Connect ...
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    Category: Workforce
  • Chinese Television Spotlights Nashville's Growth

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 14, 2014
    Nashville Area Chamber President and CEO Ralph Schulz was one of several Nashvillians interviewed this week for a segment to be broadcast on CCTV-America, the American division of the English-language news channel run by China Central Television.

    CCTV is profiling Nashville, along with Chicago, St. Louis and Louisville, in advance of the November elections. In his conversation with Schulz, Sean Calebs, Washington correspondent for CCTV-America, focused on Nashville’s economic vibrancy and remarkable growth relative to similarly sized cities.

    “I think the essential secret is that we’ve got a lot of creative people in Nashville,” Schulz said. “A quarter of the businesses here are entrepreneurial in nature; the music community brings a lot of creative people here, [and] they’re all ‘idea makers;’ that’s part of the reason we’re so hot.”

    The CCTV crew spent several days in Nashville, interviewing a broad cross-section of music industry and business leaders, including local guitar dealer George Gruhn and banjo artist Abigail Washburn. An air date for the story will be announced once the crew returns to Washington and completes final edits.

    Chamber President & CEO Ralph Schulz discusses Nashville's economy with Sean Calebs, Washington correspondent for CCTV-America, the American division of a Chinese English-language ...
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    Category: General
  • Chamber, MNPS Announce Date of 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 14, 2014
    The Nashville Area Chamber and Metro Nashville Public Schools have set Monday, May 18, as the date for the 2015 Academies of Nashville Awards. The fifth annual event will recognize the outstanding teachers, principals, schools and business-school partnerships in Metro high schools that comprise the Academies of Nashville (Antioch, Cane Ridge, Glencliff, Hillsboro, Hillwood, Hunters Lane, Maplewood, McGavock, Overton, Pearl-Cohn, Stratford, Virtual School and Whites Creek).

    Next April, hundreds of educators and business partners will vote for the award winners in 15 categories. All winners will be announced at the invitation-only awards dinner in May. For highlights from the 2014 Academies of Nashville Awards, see the video embedded below.

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    Category: Education
  • Member Spotlight - Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 13, 2014
    Q: What is unique about Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery?
    A: Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery opened in 1994 as a new concept full-service restaurant in Nashville, on the cusp of the emerging craft beer revolution. It was the first craft brewery in Tennessee, and is now the most award-winning. As a Nashville original, it has been family-owned and -operated for nearly 20 years, and we recently expanded into distribution of our beer throughout Tennessee. With more than 300 seats and ample free parking, Blackstone Restaurant is well-suited to large parties and corporate events in an intimate setting. Throw in brewery tours and “beer school,” and it’s one of a kind. Open for lunch, dinner and late night, seven days a week.

    Q: What's the best advice you ever received?
    A: Never go into the restaurant business!

    Q: What motivates you most about running your own business?
    A: Blackstone employs almost 100 full- and part-time employees, and we serve upwards of 4,000 guests a week. This is an awesome responsibility. When our founding business partner, Stephanie Weins, passed away earlier this year, we had a difficult choice to make. Our “silent” financial partner (and younger brother) moved to Nashville to manage the ...
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    Category: General
  • Nashville Mayoral Candidates Discuss Their Views

    by Debby Dale Mason | Oct 10, 2014

    The Nashville Business Coalition hosted the first business-focused mayoral candidate forum of the election season Oct. 9, with Nashville candidates Charles Robert Bone, David Fox, Jeremy Kane and Linda Rebrovick giving their views before a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 300 attendees.

    Each took turns outlining the steps they would take to maintain our city's economic growth while maintaining a competitive business climate. There was broad-based support among the candidates for continuing to aggressively pursue business relocations while continuing to invest in the support systems which will allow small businesses to grow and Nashville to maintain its reputation for entrepreneurship.

    The candidates differed slightly in their answers to addressing the region’s transit needs. Rebrovick called for a broader, regional approach to transit using components of the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s comprehensive plan; Kane called for an analysis of whether expanding K-12 students' use of public transportation might ease congestion and raised the possibility of starting over on transportation planning instead of relying on the Amp; Bone stressed that the region is 20 years behind on transportation planning and pointed to the costs of failing to grapple with the issue; and Fox suggested as mayor, he would build a broad community consensus on ...
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    Category: Legislative Issues
  • Chamber Leader Discusses Economic Development Priorities

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 08, 2014
    Economic development, a top priority of the Nashville Area Chamber, was the topic of the most recent NashvilleNext community conversation. Chamber Chief Economic Development Officer Courtney Ross was the keynote speaker, sharing how the economic development process works in Davidson County. Ross introduced her presentation with a definition from the International Economic Development Council: “Economic development is improving the economic well-being of a community through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax base enhancements and quality of life.”

    Growing our economy has emerged as the third-highest community priority during the NashvilleNext process, behind affordable living and transit. Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s success in creating jobs is the result of how the needs of clients – both already doing business here and those new to our area – are met as they look at land and real estate options, transit options, workforce/talent inventory, the quality of K-12 education and quality of place. You can watch a video of the complete community conversation below.

    It is clear that efforts to grow our economy require strong foundations in land use planning and zoning policy and the areas listed above as client needs. The Chamber, working with a variety of local and regional ...
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  • Metro Schools Introduces Middle Preps with Community Tours

    by Rita McDonald | Oct 07, 2014

    Middle school is a pivotal time for students, both developmentally and educationally. Success in middle school lays the foundation for continued learning in high school and beyond. For the 2014-2015 school year, Metro Schools has introduced the "Middle Preps" model, which represents a new approach to teaching middle-school students that better prepares them for college and career.

    The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors are hosting four Middle Prep VIP Tours this school year to introduce the redesigned Middle Preps to the community, and to share how the schools' vision, mission and values are aligned with the MNPS Strategic Plan.   

    Our first tour was last month at Isaac Litton Middle Prep. Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele discussed the district's vision and the middle school alignment, and Isaac Litton Principal Tracy Bruno discussed Isaac Litton's mission of being a first-choice STEM school. Finally, six excited student ambassadors led more than 50 business leaders, elected officials and realtors on an enlightening tour of their school.

    The guests witnessed fifth-graders working on pamphlets to combat childhood obesity; sixth-graders working with engineers to solve a stormwater ...

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    Category: Education
  • Member Spotlight - RCG

    by Lindsay Chambers | Oct 06, 2014

    Q: RCG has been in business for a decade. How has your company changed in the past 10 years?
    A: For one, our company has grown significantly since its inception. Our founder and CEO, Melinda Curran, started RCG in 2004 as a solo venture with only one client. Now, we have more than 400 clients and a full-time staff of 15 employees. (And yes, that one original client is still a client today.)

    But aside from the obvious, we’ve also had to adjust to changes in our clients’ needs and in the telecom industry in general over the past decade – technology rarely stays in one place for long. For example, as smartphones and tablets began to emerge into the mainstream, we began to notice that wireless solutions were demanding the same level of services that we had long provided for wireline. Because of that, we acquired NationLink Wireless in 2011 and can now offer custom voice, data and wireless solutions from multiple carriers for any kind of business.

    What’s the biggest goal for your company in the next year?

    A: We want to keep the momentum of this past decade moving forward, so we’re aiming for more growth ...

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    Category: General