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Knoxville a Top Ten Best City for Jobs
By: 
Anthony Welsch
Date: 
Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Knoxville, TN is the sixth best mid-sized city for jobs in an annual Forbes magazine ranking of 398 U.S. metros. Knoxville was 9th in the 2011 list, and rose in the ranking primarily because of a 3.1 percent growth in year-over-year jobs.

"The Knoxville region is an exciting, innovative place to do business," said Mike Edwards, president & CEO of the Knoxville Chamber. "The research and science assets of Knoxville and Oak Ridge make this area a leader in energy and technology, two of the key factors of job growth according to Forbes."

Forbes noted that the 2011 list of Best Cities for Jobs was dominated by locations that depended heavily on government employers. In 2012, "Instead of government, the big drivers of growth now appear to be three basic sectors: energy, technology and, most welcome of all, manufacturing." The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley is home to the University of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and other Department of Energy facilities. These organizations are on the cutting-edge of energy technologies, materials science including carbon fiber, high-speed computing, and other research and development efforts, and make the region attractive to private sector employers.

Over the last twelve months, the Knoxville region saw many companies announcing the addition of new jobs. This includes Provision's Center for Proton Therapy (100 jobs), Republic Plastics (100 jobs), Scripps Networks Interactive (100 jobs), EdFinancial (150 jobs), Goodson Brothers Coffee Company (20 jobs), G.C. Services (65 jobs), Holston Gases (30 jobs), TeamHealth (160 jobs), Virginia College (120 jobs), Legends Fitness (55 jobs), Denso Manufacturing (75), and Comcast (55 jobs).

Within the last year, ORNL has helped develop the Carbon Fiber Consortium in the region, which will give private industry, government agencies, and educational institutions the opportunity to work together to accelerate the development, demonstration, and commercial adoption of new carbon fiber and composite materials and processing techniques in many different industries. The Carbon Fiber Technology plant is an example of how the region is working together and of an industry where future job growth will occur. Other manufacturers in this region such as PetSafe, Clayton Homes, Toho Tenax, and Denso continue grow and take advantage of regional technology assets.

To capitalize on the technology resources, a regional economic development effort known as Innovation Valley works with local entrepreneurs and existing businesses to grow jobs. Regional economic development professionals also collaboratively work to attract companies and new jobs. Across the U.S., the type of regional cooperation seen in the Innovation Valley is unparalleled and the Innovation Valley serves as a best practice community in that regard.

The Innovation Valley is also on the cutting edge in workforce, targeted marketing, and technology-led economic development. The region's focused workforce development efforts will contribute to the future employment pool being better prepared than employees in other areas and that alone can attract new employers and high-wage jobs. The Innovation Valley is carefully recruiting companies that can not only benefit from the region's transportation, science, and technology assets, but also contribute to its momentum. According to Battelle, the Innovation Valley is the only region with a national laboratory that actively works in partnership with scientists and researchers to recruit companies and turn scientific discoveries into

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