Project expansion will allow crucial workforce training to reach hundreds more in Northwest Tennesse

October 01, 2013

In Northwest Tennessee, generations of residents have relied on the manufacturing sector to provide employment. Today, crippled by an aging and unskilled workforce, the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, and youth outmigration–factors worsened by economic downturn–unemployed workers must move in search of employment to metropolitan areas or remain underemployed. To combat this troubling issue for the area's economy, the Digital Factory was established in 2009 as VisionPerry in Linden, TN–Perry County–to transform the rural work model from farming and light manufacturing to a new model that embraces 21st-century technology.

The Digital Factory provides training programs for individuals who need certain skills to qualify for available positions as CSR (customer service representatives) and programming trainers. This program provides a combination of online, video, group, and individual instruction that allow participants to work from home while receiving personalized training, certification, and professional career placement in as little as four weeks

After the success of the Digital Factory in Perry County, expansion to Gibson and Weakley counties was spurred by support from community leaders who wanted the program in their area, according to Operations Officer Tatiana Sankey. “The program works – that’s why we have been able to expand, because we know that we will get results,” Sankey said.

The results of the first year of programming in Gibson County showed a 91% placement rate for those who completed the programs, equaling more than 100 jobs. This year the Digital Factory is expanding its successful model to Dresden, TN in Weakley County through a SEDAP investment from Delta Regional Authority and a strong partnership with Connecting Tennessee. The project's expansion to Dresden–VisionWeakley recently celebrated its grand opening in Dresden–is expected to result in similar job creation statistics over the coming year.

The model's implementation will result in a better trained 21st century workforce, job creation, youth retention, and support for an otherwise stagnant local economy for Weakley County. Graduates will benefit existing businesses as well as drive new industry recruitment to help revitalize northwest Tennessee’s rural economy.

For more information about the Digital Factory, visit their website.