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The Huttons Invest in Workforce at Moore Tech

Henry A. Hutton and Thomas Hutton, Jr. have their sights set on taking care of business for Memphis. 
Henry is owner of Chuck Hutton Chevrolet and Tom is with the commercial real estate firm of Chuck Hutton Co. 
The brothers have been involved in Memphis business their whole lives. Their grandfather Chuck Hutton started in the car business in 1919 and moved to Memphis in 1939. Their father, Tom Hutton, took over the dealership in 1963. And while the dealership has been a member of the Greater Memphis Chamber for a long time, the brothers stepped up the commitment when they recently joined the Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle, the 116-member group that works with civic leaders and public officials to identify areas of need and bring about significant improvements in the city. 
Both feel that there’s an urgency to improve the situation for business and to get Memphis firing on all cylinders. 
“The business owners in Memphis need to have a stronger presence and higher profile,” Henry said, “and we felt the Chairman’s Circle was a vehicle by which people who have invested resources and own businesses in Memphis can have a stronger voice. We want sound fiscal policy, we want leadership instead of politics, we want a safer city and better schools. We also want a less regulated environment and while we understand that some regulations are good, sometimes we have so many that it’s difficult for small business owners to operate.”
Henry also says the city needs a vision and needs to be promoted. “Memphis is a great place,” he said. “We have a great transportation center, we have a great location, we have great utilities. We have to get business and political leaders to put our best foot forward. We have to have a vision statement that we can all support and start working toward it.”
But the most compelling reason the Hutton brothers are upping the ante is because of a city problem they’ve seen first hand. “Many jobs in Memphis are open but we don’t have the skilled workforce — machinists, welders, automobile mechanics, body men, painters, HVAC, mechanical maintenance,” Henry said. “Businesses are going outside of Memphis to hire people to come here, yet we have an unemployment rate in Memphis that’s not acceptable. That’s why we got involved in the Chamber.”
Based on estimates from The Conference Board and the State of Tennessee’s Department of Labor, there are 35,050 people without jobs in Memphis and 15,800 jobs unfulfilled in the Memphis metro because the skilled workers are not there.
One of the answers to the problem, the Huttons say, is Moore Tech, a school that has been teaching those skills in Memphis since 1939. The Hutton family has been on the board of Moore Tech for decades and is passionate about what it represents — an established training school supplying skills for the future of Memphis. 
Moore Tech is private, non-profit and independent, serving about 300 students each trimester. It teaches welding, machining technology, air conditioning/heating and refrigeration, industrial electricity and plant maintenance, maintenance technology/plant maintenance and plumbing. And the school stays in touch with local businesses “that couldn’t find employees to manufacture their products,” Tom said. “Moore Tech went to them, asked what they needed and changed its curricula to help fill that void.” 
The Huttons have supported Moore Tech since Chuck Hutton was on the board, his son after him and now his grandson. And they’ve been supportive even when the auto dealership wasn’t directly benefitting.
“We had an automotive and auto body program as one of our original programs,” said Skip Redmond, the college’s president. “But GM and Ford brought in a training institute back in the 1980s or '90s and we had to shut ours down. But the Huttons remained positive and supportive with their time, talent and treasure.”
Looking forward, Redmond says, Moore Tech has acquired several grants and gifts that are enabling them to improve current programs.
Tuition averages less than $2,300 per trimester for full-time students, $895 for night students. The courses run two years (three for plumbing) and it graduates an average of 82 percent of its students with a placement rate of 97 percent. “What they make after being in the job for a year or two is in the $50,000 to $150,000 range,” Tom said.
Tom said that it costs around $20,000 for a student to go to Moore Tech, graduate and get a job. He said there are other vo-tech schools with a far smaller graduation and placement rates that can be seven to nine times more expensive. 
“It’s one of the most successful, lowest cost providers,” Henry said. “Great things are ahead for Moore Tech.” 

Story by: Jon W. Sparks
Photo by: Troy Glasgow

Posted: 1/3/2017 2:08:11 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Chairman's, Chevrolet, Chuck, Circle, Companies, Crossroads, Henry, Hutton, Member, Memphis, Moore, Spotlight, Tech, Tom, Workforce

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The latest news from the Greater Memphis Chamber. For more information, contact Director of Communications Christina Meek at (901) 543-3504 ( or Communications Specialist Jenny C. Fish at (901) 543-3558 (