Methodist-backed group tries to close Memphis' unemployment, skills gaps

via Memphis Business Journal

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and Turner Construction are looking for the under-skilled and the unemployed to help them build the $280 million Methodist University Hospital expansion.

"That $200 million project is just coming out of the ground, and we'll need a workforce," said Patrick Johnston, a senior project manager with Turner Construction's Memphis office. "There’s a high demand for workforce, and the skilled-labor workforce is just not there. From what we’ve seen, the trajectory is getting further apart."

A subcontractor speaks to a group of job seekers at a previously held job fair as part of… more

A subcontractor speaks to a group of job seekers at a previously held job fair as part of… more

With more cranes on Memphis' horizon, Turner and Methodist are both part of the Minority Workforce Equity Program (MWEP), a grassroots council that is working to turn Memphis' unemployed into its working class.

In 2015, Turner was working with Methodist to meet minority participation goals on a new parking garage for Le Bonheur Children's Hospital when Methodist realized it could do more.

"Methodist surveyed [contractors] to see if they could share information about where their workers live, and Bartlett and Hernando [Mississippi] were big ones," said Richard Kelley, vice president of corporate facilities management for Methodist Le Bonheur and a member of the MWEP council. "Very little came from inside the 240 loop."

In an effort to fuel the construction workforce pipeline — while simultaneously closing Memphis' unemployment and business equity gap — Methodist and Turner created a program that would intentionally hire minorities from the four Memphis zip codes with the highest unemployment and train those workers on site.

The Apple Store at Saddle Creek Joins Our Mission

As part of our program, our recipients are asked to write a short essay or shoot a brief video (iPhone is ok) answering the question:

How will this suit help me in bettering my life and community?

To help them in this effort, our recipients are treated to a private workshop at the Apple Store at Saddle Creek to learn how to shoot and edit their Reflection video. Take a moment to watch just one example of a recipient that learned how to shoot and edit his video today and sent it to us with his sincere gratitude.

Our community partners are absolutely amazing and we are grateful to Apple for investing in our youth!

Here are just a few photos from our awesome morning together! 

Support MSP when you shop at Kroger!

For every dollar you spend on groceries*, Kroger will make a donation to Memphis Suit Project.

Kroger is committed to giving back to the Memphis community! Memphis Suit Project is now a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards program! 

Kroger Plus card member can select for Memphis Suit Project to be their Community Rewards beneficiary of choice. Once enrolled online, all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card! Enrolling is easy, and we've made it even easier with the instructions below.

*Some purchases are not eligible for rewards.


  1. You must be a Kroger Plus card member
  2. Activate Community Rewards on your online Kroger account
  3. Select Memphis Suit Project (ID: 20747)
  4. Click confirm and start shopping!


​3 ways presentation speaking is like music

The next time you’re preparing for a presentation, you might want to turn on a little… more GETTY IMAGES (MARTIN BARRAUD)

The next time you’re preparing for a presentation, you might want to turn on a little… more


Anett Grant via Memphis Business Journal

When you’re preparing for a presentation and you’re looking for some extra inspiration, what do you do?

Maybe you read a book about leadership presence. Perhaps you watch a TED Talk or two. But have you ever tried listening to music?

Yes, you actually can learn a lot about good speaking by listening to good music. Here, Grant explains three reasons why speaking is like music.

Mike Conley, Jr., Memphis Grizzlies and the City of Memphis Invest in Our City's Men

This weekend, we had the privilege of meeting and fitting men across the City of Memphis who are participating in Mayor Strickland's Manhood University program. It's a five week soft skills training program that aims to prepare men ages 16-29 for employment. The men will have the opportunity to put those skills to use at the upcoming My Brother's Keeper Job Fair on June 22.

Thanks to our favorite Memphis Grizzlies player and hometown hero, Mike Conley Jr., the graduates of Mayor Strickland's Manhood University will look the part at the MBK Job Fair in their BRAND NEW suits, shirts, ties, belts, socks and shoes from New York Suit Exchange

We are grateful to partner with Mayor Strickland, Workforce Investment Network, and the Memphis Grizzlies Foundation to give these men confidence and credibility as the pursue employment in the #901!

Kroger hosts national hiring event

via Memphis Business Journal

The grocery giant (NYSE: KR) will hold open interviews in its stores nationwide 11 a.m. -4 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Interested candidates should apply on Kroger’s jobs website and then visit a store at any time during the interview window on Saturday with no appointment necessary.

Kroger expects to add 10,000 permanent positions in its supermarket division in 2017. The company added more than 12,000 associates through similar hiring events in 2016 while creating 86,000 new jobs over the last eight years.

Suit Gifting: Introducing the Men (and Women) of Memphis Athletic Ministries

On Wednesday, May 10, we gifted 14 youth from Memphis Athletic Ministries' Career Readiness Program. The 2017 Class, made up of 7 young men and 7 young women were dressed to impress at the Gifting Event. Mentors, peers, donors and community partners excitedly cheered them on in support of their futures and promise. 

We are thrilled to partner with organizations like MAM, who work with young men to teach job-readiness skills and soft skills to ensure they are successful in the workplace. Special thanks to Coach Kyle Bennison and Coach Jonathan Torres for making this such a special time for these students. Thank you to Paaton Karel Photography for the photos.

Finally, thank you to our donor partners, for recognizing the importance of a good first impression and for helping these students make theirs. 


Local nonprofit wants to place low-income youth in IT jobs

Jeff Tollefson, Genesys Works Chief Strategic Growth Officer  COURTESY OF PICASA

Jeff Tollefson, Genesys Works Chief Strategic Growth Officer 


Mark Sturgis, executive director of Seeding Success, is hoping to help cure a supply and demand imbalance in the Bluff City.

"Memphis has a huge demand for entry level IT professionals and, on the opposite side, we have a huge pool of high school students who are at risk of dropping out of school for one reason or another," Sturgis said.

Sturgis, whose nonprofit works with schools, businesses and other organizations on cradle-to-career success, recently applied for a $50,000 grant to bring a workforce development program focused on IT needs to Memphis.

Founded in 2002, Genesys Works is a nonprofit that trains and employs disadvantaged high school students to work in the IT departments of major corporations. The organization is currently working in Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

This spring, Genesys Works announced it was actively seeking new partner cities and had four $50,000 planning grants to expand the program; Sturgis applied.

Unlike most high school internships which last a few weeks over the summer, Genesys Works trains and places low-income high school students with a company for the duration of their senior year.

Suit Gifting: The Gentlemen of Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis

On Tuesday, May 9 we distributed 16 suits to young men that attend the Juice Plus+ Technical Training Center of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis. While not every recipient was able to attend the Gifting Event, we know that their suits will help each and every one of them have confidence and credibility as they pursue employment.

We are grateful to the Boys & Girls Club staff, our board, and our Community Partner, Mark Stevens from New York Suit Exchange, for supporting these men tonight!

Memphis Office of Youth Services Implements ‘Just One Youth' program

Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis Office of Youth Services is asking the community to help provide jobs for youth this summer.

The office is launching a new program called JOY or ‘Just one Youth.'

Through the program, the Mayor is asking all churches and businesses in the city of Memphis to commit, employ and compensate one child of their choice this summer for six weeks starting June 5th through July 17th. Give just one child a life changing experience for the summer.  This “Call to Action” is named JOY, Just One Youth.  Together let’s bring JOY to a child while breaking the cycle of despair.

Colin Kaepernick donates custom made suits to parolees looking for jobs

No matter what you think about Colin Kaepernick, you have to admit that he is using his platform and wealth to give back to those without the same talent and opportunity. We love when efforts like ours receive national attention; it means we are getting somewhere. Well done, Kaepernick.

by Harry Lyles Jr. via

On Sunday, Kaepernick was passing out suits in front of the New York State Parole office for people who have been released from prison and are looking for jobs. According to the 100suits Instagram account, the suits were custom made.

cityCURRENT features Memphis Athletic Ministries and The Memphis Suit Project

This feature by CJ Kirkland perfectly illustrates the work we do. We are blessed to partner with Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) and are proud of Cardarrius and Keith and all of the MAM students as they work to improve their lives. We will always and forever being cheering for our recipients to succeed in all they do.

by CJ Kirkland for cityCURRENT

We know that first impressions very much matter; Memphis Suit Project and MAM are making sure that these young men stand out in ways that matter so that they can continue to grow in those areas that matter most. They have faced the impossible, sometimes survived the unthinkable and continue to succeed in ways that were, by some, considered undoable. They have earned every fiber and every stitch of which these suits are made. They have earned this opportunity to show on the outside what incredible transformation has taken place on the inside. We can all feel happy about that.

Looking for a career in IT? Check out the Tech901 Info Session

I.T. careers are in-demand, there’s no doubt about it! 

Tech901 is hosting an Info Session to educate and answer any and all of your questions regarding their IT programs and courses.

  • Tuesday, May 9
  • 5:30-6:30 pm
  • 1350 Concourse Avenue
  • Memphis, TN 38104

What are you waiting for? The time is now.

How to clarify the meaning of success

When you do these things, you are following a well-worn path to greatness.  GETTY IMAGES (ROBERT DALY)

When you do these things, you are following a well-worn path to greatness. 


Success is a function of three vitally important things that create that much needed momentum: We have to understand where we’ve been, we have to know where we are going, and we should know what our current opportunities are.

Here, Alex Charfen shares his tips for clarifying success:

  • Focusing on your strengths
  • Staying in your sweet spot
  • Give it 90 days

Tennessee makes college free for adults over 24

via WREG

Courtesy of College Lifestyles

Courtesy of College Lifestyles

It’s back to school in Tennessee, but not for the kids.

The state passed a bill that would fund two years of community college or technical school for “older adults” for free. The program is called Tennessee Reconnect, and it’s a last dollar program, which means that the state will cover all tuition and fees after grants and scholarships have been applied.

But who counts as “older adults?”

Luckily, almost everyone. The age requirement for an older adult is over 24 years old.

That’s because Tennessee Reconnect is meant to pick up where another program, Tennessee Promise, leaves off.

These 9 skills are great ones to have on your résumé right now

via Business Insider

Looking for a new job can be hard. It is difficult to balance writing cover letters and interviewing with the tasks of your current job, and standing out from so many eager candidates is no easy feat.

If your résumé is easy to read, free of typos, and features great relevant experience, try adding some skills to the bottom. Your skill set can market you as a top candidate, setting you apart from the rest of the applicant pool.

Here, Business Insider had rounded up relevant skills for a variety of careers, so there's bound to be something worth enrolling in.

Google begins testing Google Hire, a new job application service

Google has developed an employment service for use by other companies and startups called… more MICHAEL SHORT/BLOOMBERG

Google has developed an employment service for use by other companies and startups called… more


Google is quietly testing a new service called Google Hire, designed to help other companies post jobs, accept applications and track applicants through the process, Axios reports.

Google Hire is apparently being used or being tested by a handful of startups and small tech companies ( Here’s how the job listings on Google Hire look for one such company, Medisas). It remains unclear how Google Hire is different from competitors like Taleo, Greenhouse or Lever. Also unknown is when Google plans to roll out Hire to more companies.

Suit Gifting: Michael Harner

Meet Michael Harner.

After a career of working construction, Michael decided he wanted to better his life and financial position by pursuing a degree in Supply Chain Management from The University of Memphis. Today we gifted Michael with a suit, shirt, tie, belt and socks so that he has confidence and credibility as he begins to interview.

Although I am the non-traditional student I have had to live from paycheck to paycheck for most my life. By going to college and getting my degree I hope to end this type of living. Now that I am a college student and close to graduating I really don’t have money for a suit. Receiving a suit from the Memphis Suit Project would help me in so many ways. I feel like a suit would help me have more confidence, during job interviews and job networking. I have always been told if you look good, you feel good and by going to school I have come to learn that there is truth to this.
— Michael Harner, Suit Recipient
Recipient Michael Harner with Christen Lundgren of MSP

Recipient Michael Harner with Christen Lundgren of MSP