Business Facilities ranks Tennessee No. 1 in autos, education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Business Facilities Magazine, a national economic development publication, has named Tennessee the No. 1 state in the nation in both automotive manufacturing strength and education.

In the magazine’s 11th annual rankings report, Tennessee also received accolades as No. 2 for best business climate and No. 2 for best infrastructure.

The first state to win back-to-back “state of the year” honors from Business Facilities, Tennessee has ranked No. 1 for automotive manufacturing strength for an unprecedented five times in the past six years and also ranked No. 1 for education in 2014.

“Good things are happening in Tennessee, and we appreciate Business Facilities recognizing that. Thanks to the hard work of so many Tennesseans, we’ve become known around the world as a leading automobile manufacturing state, and through the Drive to 55, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect initiatives, we’re becoming known as a state where employers can find the job skills they need no matter what the skill level may be,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. “Whether it’s automotive strength, education, business climate or infrastructure, we are working every day to make sure Tennessee is well-positioned for the workforce challenges of today’s global market economy.”

Tennessee is home to more than 900 automotive manufacturers and suppliers statewide including the Nissan Smyrna plant, which is the most productive automotive operation in North America. This year alone, 20 automotive projects have committed 4,565 new jobs across the state and nearly $1.1 billion in capital investment.

“Tennessee’s focus on aligning education and industry is the driving force behind our state’s ability to sufficiently train our workforce, maintain a steady pipeline of talent to support our existing businesses and recruit future employers,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “Home to Nissan, Volkswagen and General Motors, Tennessee’s global reputation as a top automotive manufacturer is further solidified by this recognition. I couldn’t be more proud of our state for helping us build this momentum and achieve this level of success.”

Business Facilities credits the Tennessee Promise program for earning Tennessee top honors in the magazine’s new “Education: Tech Skills Leaders” category, which showcases the states that have made tech skills-oriented educational programs a top priority.

Tennessee Promise, the first initiative of its kind in the nation, offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college to Tennessee high school graduates. Over 16,000 students are expected to utilize the program this fall. Tennessee Promise is a cornerstone of the Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative aimed at increasing the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55 percent by 2025 in order to build an improved workforce development pipeline and attract employers to the state.

“The leadership Tennessee has shown in education is a standard that should be emulated across the country,” Business Facilities Editor in Chief Jack Rogers said. “It’s also the smartest formula for sustainable economic growth.”

To view the complete 2015 Business Facilities Rankings Report, click here.

Source: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

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Jeannie Oliver

Jeannie Oliver is a writer and PR practitioner with a long string of awards behind her name. With a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Jeannie has worked as a high school journalism teacher, an editor for the Appaloosa Journal, and a media spokesperson for...