Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council (TN) – Labor Market Assessment
ChallengeLocated 40 miles northwest of Nashville, the Clarksville-Montgomery County region has grown steadily in recent years. Comprised of four counties in two states, the Clarksville metropolitan statistical area population is forecast to surpass 300,000 by 2020. To better understand the characteristics of the local workforce and the opportunities they present for industrial recruitment and retention, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council (CMCEDC) engaged TIP Strategies to conduct a workforce assessment and community audit for the region surrounding Fort Campbell. The purpose of the study was threefold: (1) to investigate and document the demographics of the regional labor force; (2) to determine the availability of a quality workforce to support the hiring needs of both existing and prospective employers; and (3) to understand the influence of Fort Campbell.
ApproachWe began by defining the regional labor shed based on commuting patterns and data compiled from major employers in the region. We then analyzed the area’s demographics from the perspective of current and future employers. This analysis was supplemented by interviews with major employers, higher education representatives, and community leaders. Throughout the study particular emphasis was placed on understanding the resource represented by Fort Campbell. Towards that end, we met with military officials, as well as active duty soldiers and their spouses to gain an understanding of their views on the economic opportunity afforded to spouses or to soldiers upon separation from service. In addition, we benchmarked similarly situated communities to gather information on best practices which might inform recommendations for the region.
OutcomeOne of the region’s greatest economic development assets is the pool of skilled, disciplined, and motivated workers associated with Fort Campbell. This workforce consists of Army retirees living in the region, as well as current soldiers separating from service through Fort Campbell, and the spouses of active duty personnel and veterans, who themselves are often highly skilled and educated. Unfortunately, many military families do not remain in the Clarksville area after their service ends due to a lack of adequate employment opportunities that fully utilize their skills and abilities. The inventory mechanism created by TIP will help the CMCEDC better understand and document the unique characteristics of the region’s military-related workforce. This inventory will capture critical information about this population, including post-military intentions, educational levels, skills, and desired employment that can be used to recruit companies to the Fort Campbell region.