Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday he will restructure the state’s business recruitment efforts, setting up “jobs base camps” across the state and eliminating government red tape.
Calling it his Jobs4TN plan, the governor said his blueprint for economic growth was developed over 45 days and involved interviews with more than 300 business and community leaders as well as national experts.
“My top priority is for Tennessee to be the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs,” Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN plan is a blueprint for doing just that. By leveraging our existing assets in each region, we will be able to attract new businesses to the state while helping our existing businesses expand and remain competitive. We will also be making significant investments in innovation to position Tennessee as a national leader well into the future.”
Haslam said his administration will focus its recruitment efforts on target clusters in which he believes the state has a competitive advantage: automotive, chemicals and plastics, transportation, logistics and distribution services, business services, health care, advanced manufacturing and energy technologies.
The state Department of Economic and Community Development will restructure its field staff to start “jobs base camps” in each of nine regions across the state, then work with local business and community leaders to recruit companies.
The governor said he asked ECD to review federal and state business regulations and identify those that inhibit job growth.
To implement the plan, Haslam said ECD will undergo a reorganization that will result in a new senior leadership team and a 35 percent reduction in staff. He said ECD is the first state agency to complete the “top-to-bottom review” that he ordered across state government when he took office.
“In an age of limited resources, Tennessee taxpayers want the state to focus on those activities that will result in a substantial return on investment,” ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said.