Chattanooga State Economic & Workforce Development: Providing Access to Opportunity

February 8, 2021 | Betty A. Proctor | Press Release

students in the skill up program

The Economic & Workforce Development (EWD) team at Chattanooga State Community College takes pride in providing a wide variety of non-credit courses, seminars, workshops, certificates, and programs.

Whether you are looking for a way to upskill by learning technical or essential skills, find a customized solution for your business, crosswalk to a credit program, or just want to take a personal interest course, the EWD team wants to work with you.

Now available online, prospective students can view Chattanooga State’s EWD course catalog is at EWD courses cover Career and Professional Development, Computer & Information Technology, Construction, Healthcare & Fitness, Motorcycle Training, Online Courses, Teen Enrichment & Youth Summer Camps, Business & Industry Training, Personal Interest, as well as Customized Business & Industry Training.

In particular, a recent program resulted in employers extending job offers to every one of 26 students who completed course work and on-the-job training.

“Our Skill Up program plays an important part in promoting equity in our community,” stated Bo Drake, vice president of EWD. Chattanooga State recently ran a three-week program in conjunction with the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation, thanks to the funding through CARES Act. Of the 26 students, four decided to also register for degree programs.

Among the advantages of Skill Up are developing short-term courses that lead to nationally recognized credentials designed to provide access to opportunities for better employment. “The key tenet of this program is that students earn a wage while in the classroom, allowing them to perhaps step away from a low-wage job to focus on the training while investing in themselves,” added Mr. Drake.

The Regions Bank Foundation invested in the Skill Up initiative with a $90K donation to the Chattanooga Chamber Foundation to provide classroom training and on-the-job experience.

A new graduate of the Skill Up program expressed gratitude to the Chamber and College for partnering to make Skill Up possible: “If it wasn’t for the hands-on communication, I would not have made it online, but because of this class, I can do it now,” said Willie George. “I am grateful for the program, and the program should continue because it can help others the way it has helped me. It has changed my life.”

“The Skill Up program is designed to provide very short-term training that immediately leads to good paying jobs with the potential to grow. This program not only helps participants earn more and increase their earning potential, but it also helps employers meet their workforce needs,” adds Dr. Rebecca Ashford, president of Chattanooga State.

The Chattanooga Chamber Foundation and Chattanooga State Community College are also working together with business, industry, and other educational partners to grow apprenticeship programs in our community. These are unique, flexible instruction programs combining job related courses with structured on-the-job learning experiences. Apprenticeships are a powerful ‘earn while you learn’ solution to local economic and workforce development demands that allow students to earn a wage while attending classes.

EWD also partners with the American Job Center (AJC) to offer information sessions for individuals interested in learning more about in-demand career and training opportunities and the various forms of financial assistance available such as WIOA, which can provide funds for short-term certification-based training.

The Workforce Development team of Chattanooga State include faculty members and leadership teams from academic divisions and highly qualified professionals with extensive backgrounds in business, manufacturing, and education.

To learn more about Chattanooga State’s Economic and Workforce Development division call (423) 697-3100 or visit