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Suburban Spotlight

There seems to be a constant theme at the suburban chamber of commerce luncheons these days. An ever-occurring subject matter that provides a glimpse into the future of West Tennessee.

This past week, BlueOval City was the focus of chamber sessions in Arlington and Collierville. Last month, the Lakeland chamber had a meeting centered on BlueOval — the Ford Motor Co. plant on the north side of Interstate 40 at Exit 42.

And since Ford announced its plans to build on the former Memphis Regional Megasite — now the Megasite of West Tennessee — south of Stanton, various people have appeared at the suburban meetings to talk about what it means for this end of the state.

These luncheons have concentrated on the various impacts the Ford plant in Haywood County will bring, from workforce concerns to business development to growth in municipalities from Shelby County to Jackson, Tennessee.

On Wednesday in Collierville, Brooxie Carlton, an assistant commissioner of the state community and rural development, focused on how this mega-industry would affect some of the growing towns like Collierville. Her concerns focused more on shortcomings, like having the proper workforce to provide personnel to the plant.

“They know how many electric vehicles are needed,” she said. “They know how to make the vehicles. They know how to make the batteries. They know exactly what they need to be doing on the technical side, and now they have been really involved in developing the workforce side.”

Training workers for such jobs seems to be a common theme in these matters, but several school districts are trying to address those shortcomings with curriculum geared toward answering those questions.
It is all part of the ever-changing landscape in West Tennessee.

Growth will accompany these changes, and the question becomes can the region adapt to it. - Suburbs editor Clay Bailey 

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