Executive Summary: Strategic Plans

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Goal: Tennessee First in Southeast for Good Jobs

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In April 2011, Governor Bill Haslam released the Jobs4TN plan, a road map for the future of economic development in Tennessee. The plan focused the efforts of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) on strategic business clusters where Tennessee has a distinct competitive advantage. Jobs4TN emphasized aiding existing Tennessee businesses to grow and expand in addition to adding resources and senior leadership talent to accomplish the long-standing goal of recruiting new businesses and jobs to the state.

Nine Regional Centers

A key underpinning of the Jobs4TN plan is the decentralization of ECD into nine distinct regions across the state, each home to a jobs base camp, following the existing boundaries of the state's nine development districts. During the course of the past year, ECD's nine new regional directors have focused their energy on working with ECD business development staff along with the extensive network of local economic development officials and other stakeholders to coordinate and focus state, regional, and local resources to more fully support expansions of existing Tennessee businesses. They also participated heavily in new business and industry recruitment.

The regional directors through a variety of outreach efforts, stakeholder meetings, and consensus building activities have created targeted strategic plans for each of their regions. These plans outline how ECD's regional staff will

  • lead new efforts and initiatives in their regions,
  • support existing local economic development organizations, and
  • serve as an effective conduit between the department and regional stakeholders.

ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty encouraged the regional directors and their staffs to develop these plans in close coordination with the many local and regional stakeholders that constitute the economic development community in each region. The ECD regional staffs used a variety of methods to develop consensus in their regions about how the newly decentralized ECD structure will be effective. In some regions, local stakeholders already had existing strategic plans for their own organizations, and those were reviewed and incorporated. In other situations, large stakeholder meetings were needed to bring different economic development forces together, or combinations of these two approaches were used as well as one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders.

The results are nine distinct plans tailored to their individual regions of the state, while common themes run through many of the plans.

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*The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development's mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the number-one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Tennessee and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.


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A key underpinning of the Jobs4TN plan is the decentralization of ECD into nine distinct regions.