Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke is launching a new program in the Scenic City that will help connect people with employers and opportunities.

The program, which is called "Workforce Outreach," will work over the next 50 weeks to connect at least 3,500 people in some of Chattanooga's most disinvested neighborhoods with jobs, skills training or education.

“Chattanooga’s economy is performing well, but that means we need to be making even more significant investments in reaching out and pulling people up,” Mayor Berke said. “A strong workforce is directly linked to so many other positive outcomes in our city. A higher wage allows people repair their homes, save for their children's education, or simply enjoy more of what our city has to offer. Workforce Outreach is about literally meeting people where they live so we can make sure they know about the many things that local government and our partners can be doing to help them boost their wages, grow their skills, and find more stable and rewarding jobs.”

The program will be administered by the Office of Workforce Development.

“Often what we find when we are working with unemployed or underemployed people is that a communication gap exists within our community,” Kent Burnes, who leads the Office of Workforce Development, said. “People have skills but aren’t aware that companies are hiring. Employers want workers, but don’t know where to look for them. Workforce Outreach wants to bridge those gaps and help everyone grow together.”

The program kick-off will take place on July 23 at noon at Southside Community Park. Mayor Burke, Cit Councilman Erskine Oglesby Jr. Economic & Community Development staff will go door-to-door in the Alton Park neighborhood.

"Door-to-door canvassing, phone calls to constituents, direct mail, and dropboxes in key places in each neighborhood are among the communication methods that will be deployed as part of the campaign," a spokesperson explained.

Councilman Oglesby said using Chattanooga's current economic momentum can help move the city forward in places where there is "chronic" poverty and unemployment.

“It’s no secret that while some parts of Chattanooga are doing great, some areas of our city continue to struggle with unemployment, disinvestment, and chronic poverty,” Councilman Oglesby said. “We owe it to ourselves and future generations of Chattanoogans to use our current economic momentum to pull everyone forward so that everyone can benefit from a great job at a good wage.”

For more information, visit the city's website.