Weekly Update


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It didn’t get much coverage, but another big thing happened in Memphis this week that’s part of the community’s ongoing work to combat our challenges and spread opportunity across the city.

Working with local homebuilders, SCS Supt. Joris Ray, and Gov. Bill Lee, a program was developed to offer homebuilding craftsman certification in two SCS schools this year. High school students will have the opportunity to jump-start their careers by having a real, tangible certification ready to go to work right after high school, if that’s what they choose. (Also, SCS has already awarded almost 2,000 students with technical certificates in existing programs!)

It’s another part of why I call Memphis an opportunity city.

For instance, today in Memphis you can:

  • Get a free community or technical college education, which can lead to good-paying jobs. We’re the only state in the nation in which that is true.
  • Apply for one of thousands of open jobs.
  • Receive free career skills training at the Ben Hooks Job Corps.
  • Find free assistance to apply for jobs and improve skills through the Workforce Investment Network.
  • Have a non-violent criminal record expunged for free.
  • Get a free high school equivalency diploma or a high school degree in a school for adults (and it includes free child care and transportation assistance).

And that’s on top of those who have already taken advantage of our opportunities. As you may have seen, the Memphis metro area set an employment record in the most recent month for which there are statistics. Some 16,000 more Memphians are working today than when I took office, and the double-digit unemployment we experienced in the city from 2009 to 2013 has given way to eight consecutive months of unemployment under 5 percent and 26 consecutive months of unemployment under 6 percent.

As always, you can connect with all of the great opportunities in our city by visiting opportunity.memphistn.gov.

Enacting 3.0: For decades, Memphis grew by expanding outward, and investing in neighborhoods wasn’t a priority. Memphis developed without any guiding plan, and without a real roadmap for equity and opportunity for everyone.

Those days are over.

You know that by our actions these past three-plus years, but this week we formalized that when I signed an executive order adopting Memphis 3.0, our first comprehensive plan in nearly 40 years. My order mandates that our new “build up, not out” thinking will govern all land use recommendations, and that our administration will work to implement the dozens and dozens of policy actions that will invest in neighborhoods and continue the renaissance of our core.

When we took office, we sent transition team members to growing cities like Denver and Nashville to learn their secrets. All of these cities attributed consistent, long-range comprehensive planning as a big reason behind their growth. I commissioned the plan when we took office, and some 15,000 Memphians told us how they want Memphis to grow. Never before has Memphis had such an inclusive, community-focused effort to build a collective vision.

I’m excited to see how it helps guide us toward a better future.

Buy some books: Make sure you check out next weekend’s Friends of the Library Book Sale, which is coming up May 24-25. Plenty of books and music will be available for under $2. Learn more here.

Congrats, Indigo: You may recall that last year, we took a lead on ensuring that Indigo Ag would grow right here in Memphis -- and not anywhere else. Indigo responded by opening its North American operations headquarters next door to AutoZone Park.

This week, Indigo claimed the No. 1 spot on CNBC’s list of top disruptive companies -- ahead of names like Airbnb, DoorDash, SoFi, and 23andMe. Indigo’s head-turning work is happening in our midst, and continues to help solidify Memphis as a leader in the growing ag tech sector.

Collections continue: Our improved service model for solid waste, which we outlined here last week, continues with early promising results. It’s important that you know the two weeks each month that you will have bulk waste pickup. Find it on the magnet we mailed to your house, look up your address online here, or download the simple Memphis Curbside Collection app on the App Store or Google Play.

Spreading the word: It’s a great time to do business in Memphis. That’s the message I shared this week when I met with officials from Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea (photo below), and a message I'll continue to share to promote more growth and investment in our city.

Business leaders

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