Governor Haslam Signs Broadband Accessibility Act

Gov. Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act in Brownsville last week. After studying broadband access statewide and finding that nearly 834,000 Tennesseans go without broadband access, TNECD strongly supported the measure designed to increase broadband access to Tennessee’s unserved citizens. – See more at:

$41,000 Tourism Enhancement Grant

The Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission in partnership with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce and Manchester Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce they have received a $41,000 tourism enhancement grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development & Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. These funds will be matched by the Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission to total $58,000 and will be used for additional electrical infrastructure and facility enhancements at the Manchester Parks and Recreation’s Soccer Complex.

“This is exciting news for our community, as our commitment to invest into impact continues to position our city to strengthen, develop, and grow. The most exciting aspect for me; however, is the collaboration between the Recreation Department, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Manchester Tourism and Community Development Commission. This is a perfect example of the synergy we have created by leveraging strong community partnerships. Obtaining this grant is exciting for the community right now, but the partnerships and relationships we are building are even more exciting for our future,” said Ryan French, Vice Mayor and Chairman.

“The state’s Tourism & ECD do a great job supporting rural communities, and we are honored to have received this grant. Installing lights at the soccer complex will not only allow for longer play and more tournaments but will provide a need for out-of-town guests to have dinner after play, sleep over, and have breakfast in Manchester the next morning. It’s all about capturing dollars. It was privilege to work alongside our Tourism Commissioners and Parks and Recreation on this grant,” said Terri Hudson, Executive Director, Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce

“The Parks and Recreation Department is excited to work in partnership with the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Commission on providing electrical service to the new Soccer Complex. The partnership allowed us to tap into the Tourism Enhancement Grant program funding to further develop the Soccer Complex. The electrical service is an important step forward to creating a venue for soccer to attract tournaments and tourism dollars to our local economy,” said Bonnie Gamble, Director, Manchester Parks and Recreation

Workforce Development – July 13

In the South Central Tennessee area local industries have an acute need for skilled workers. There are a number of programs available to develop workers, but job training is not always aligned with industry’s hiring needs. There is a gap between what students have in skills and what is needed for entry level positions. likewise, the gap extends to the skills of workers already employed In the industry.

Your Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce is busy behind the scenes bringing the right people to the table to address strategies to build a stronger workforce for Coffee County.  We are currently supporting an effort led by County Mayor Gary Cordell to seek new opportunities for high school students and adults, alike, in technical training.
We’re bringing together educators from across our region, local government officials, industry professionals, and business leaders to explore state grant opportunities to provide post-secondary education opportunities right here in Coffee County.  In order to be competitive in industry recruiting, we have to be able to proudly boast that we can provide the workforce needed by prospects.
What we are learning is that there is a definite need, even in existing industries, for more skilled laborers, and we believe we must work to help change the mindset of parents, students, and educators about technical careers.  These are not dirty, second rate jobs; rather, they are highly skilled and high-paying jobs that can be entered into without the burden of astronomical debt and the four-year journey that our traditional idea of post-secondary education provides.  This idea is described fully

We hope to be able to announce a positive result from our work sometime in the next few months.  Stay tuned!

The Roadmap for Success – Speaker – Leroy C. Cunningham

The primary goal of the Small Business Development Centers in Tennessee is to optimize and maximize jobs in Tennessee.  Workforce Development and Economic Development are the driving factors for a stronger, stable workforce and lower unemployment rate.
Yesterday morning, Leroy Cunningham, Senior Business Development Specialist with the Murfreesboro SBCD was the keynote speaker at the chamber’s General Membership Breakfast.  Mr. Cunningham elaborated on the roadmap for success that our collective of talent needs to focus on; a gameplan, teamwork, and public-private partnerships.  Simple and apparent as it may seem, it is crucial we be reminded of these key elements.  So often we get tied up in the “Bigger Picture” and set aside the basic pillars of accomplishing a goal.  But they are no less important.

Our Game Plan should be Teamwork for Public and Private Partnerships to drive Economic and Workforce Development 
An important part of our game plan must be to inventory our resources. “When we focus on what we don’t have, we need to remember we have people with talent,” Mr. Cunningham stated.  Too often, we look at prosperous cities and say, “We can’t.”  We think because we don’t have a have a mountain or a beach that we can’t create something special.  Mr. Cunningham relayed the story of Walt Disney looking for investors in the early years and being denied for his outlandish ideas, but look at Disney now!  He compared the Disney story to how natives must have felt 15 years ago when the idea came about to have a music festival in the middle of a huge empty field in the small town of Manchester, TN.  And yet, look at Bonnaroo today.  And look at the possibilities that Great Stage Park presents for the future.
Secondly, Mr. Cunningham stressed the importance of teamwork.  Successful communities find team members who want to play and will be committed.  Their teams are transparent and inclusive.  So many times, one individual’s path can align with another’s agenda, but for whatever reason the parties just cannot seem to connect or establish a combined effort to make an initiative work.  This is our own fault.  If we are to progress as a community we can no longer detach our own efforts from another’s.  Truth is, any large scale endeavor is more than just one person’s concern, and the job is just too big and too important to be attempted individually.  For example…  If you want to build a waterpark, this is a combined effort.  Do you have enough water pressure to your park?  How clean is the water at your park?  Is Tourism recognizing your park as an attraction?  Do elected officials and townspeople know your business impacts their tax dollars as tourist attractions?  Are there enough hotels built to maximize your business goals?  And on and on.
And finally, Mr. Cunningham provided a gentle reminder that government can’t do everything for any community.  Governments are strapped; their budgets are stretched thin.  But there are still ways to build the community we desire.  Effective communities are entering into public-private partnerships (or p3’s).  There are countless stories around the country of how the public and private sector partnered together on projects and programs with wild success.


We must have a strong vibrant community for those who live here, who want to relocate here, who want to visit here, and for our children to stay or return here.  Our elected officials need to be informed with data to make informed decisions that drive economic development.