Talent & Economic Inclusion

The Chamber has been actively engaging the Chattanooga business community in our Economic Inclusion work. This year proved to be challenging for many, in light of COVID-19, but the team quickly pivoted our work to virtual platforms to continue conversations around inclusion.

The Chattanooga Chamber held four Unity Networking Breakfasts to encourage individuals to connect and grow their network. These event focus’ on underserved populations and help connect them to the larger business community. In light of COVID-19, these events shifted to focus on connecting diverse businesses in our community with available resources. The Chamber Talent & Economic Inclusion team partnered with the Marketing & Communications team to host a variety of webinars, with over 100 businesses attending seeking access to funding supports.

Focusing on diverse talent retention, The Styles L. Hutchins Fellowship is a collaboration between the Chamber, the City of Chattanooga and the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. The Styles L. Hutchins Fellowship works to create a plan that will elevate Chattanooga as a city where diverse talent can create a prosperous future. The cohort presented their initial research and recommendations in January 2020 to community members. Spring 2020 Fellows are continuing their research and work to implement recommendations.

In June, The Chamber held DIVERSIFY, a virtual summit highlighting diversity, inclusion and the 21st century workplace. The event provided a timely platform for diverse business owners and professionals as well as their allies during the unrest sweeping our country that spotlights the high cost of racial and economic inequality. To ensure the health and safety of our entire community, the DIVERSIFY Summit was held online this year. DIVERSIFY featured breakout sessions led by industry professionals and a keynote presentation by Manuel Pastor, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity at University of Southern California. We saw a 166% increase in attendance from last year.

Other Topics

As someone who moved around frequently in recent years, I've always chased a sense of community. This led me to relocate to Chattanooga in August of 2021. I wanted to integrate my life into the Scenic City, and the Chamber…

The effects of the global pandemic have placed a tight hold on an already strained workforce. In 2021, approximately 47.4 million workers left their positions in search of better opportunities. The same year closed with 4.6 million more job openings…

Nearly 15,000 people are released from Tennessee penitentiaries each year. Project Return is dedicated to helping the formerly incarcerated successfully transition back into communities and work. Founded in Nashville in 1979, Project Return expanded to Chattanooga in 2021. The nonprofit program provides the resources and services,…

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