New Tool Helps Tennesseans Evaluate College Programs that Prepare Students for In-Demand Jobs

Release date: 6/28/2016

Memphis, TN—Today in Nashville, TN, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation launched a new tool called Launch My Career TN. The Greater Memphis Chamber is one of six Chambers in Tennessee to receive a grant from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to promote this new free, open website at This new tool will assist high school students and adults returning to school in finding the right college program, and will help businesses who are seeking to build the best workforce. Tennessee is among the first states in the nation to offer this new college selection tool. Kelly Rayne, senior vice president of community development for the Greater Memphis Chamber and Glen Fenter, President of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce attended the launch event in Nashville on behalf of Memphis.

The American Institutes for Research’s (AIR) College Measures, Gallup, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation—with funding from USA Funds—have collaborated to develop a state-specific online tool that will give prospective students actionable information to evaluate college programs based on potential earnings, employment, and other outcomes following graduation.

“Memphis is full of young people who will benefit from a career tool like this, connecting them to the information that will help them find the right fit for their continued education or job opportunities. This will also help our businesses who will be able to better connect with a qualified workforce, a top priority for the Chamber,” said Phil Trenary, President & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber.

The Launch My Career TN tool complements the work of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) whose purpose is to create an effective pipeline of high-skilled workers tailored to the needs of area businesses through the collaboration of its partner organizations while also working every day to build career pathways between the unemployed and the area’s open high-skill positions.

“Students are looking for ways to demystify the process of selecting a college,” said Mark Schneider, a vice president and institute fellow at AIR. “Launch My Career TN offers them real information on the kind of return they might get for their investment in higher education. It allows them to select a degree program or institution based on their interests or preferred jobs, and then compare how that degree stacks up against the same degree from other colleges.”

Launch My Career TN offers the following information to help prospective students select the best college program aligned with their career and lifestyle goals:

  • Identifies “hot jobs” that are in demand across Tennessee, and the degree or certificate programs that will prepare students for these roles.
  • Compares projected future earnings to the investment required to graduate from a particular school and program.
  • Analyzes the earnings potential of many career options.
  • Helps students understand the personal and professional satisfaction that accompanies different careers and courses of study.

Launch My Career TN is supported by one of four College Value grants totaling $3.5 million from the non-profit corporation USA Funds. The grants support development in 12 states, including Tennessee, of new models for measuring college value to help students and their families, policymakers, and postsecondary institutions make more-informed decisions about the training and skills that will provide the greatest value to students and their communities. (Learn more at

“To pursue a more purposeful path through college to rewarding careers, college-bound students and adult learners need better information about the outcomes they can expect from postsecondary programs,” said Derek Redelman, USA Funds vice president, research and policy. “By developing this resource, Tennessee is demonstrating national leadership in enhancing student success in college and careers.”

Other features of the tool include a lifestyle goal calculator, showing the number of years it will take for the salary from a particular occupation to meet a user’s lifestyle goals; and a break-even calculator that demonstrates the numbers of years it will take for the earnings after completing a particular degree program to exceed the total net price of the program.

Picture: Kelly Rayne, Sr. Vice President, Community Development, Greater Memphis Chamber and Dr. Glen Fenter, President, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce. They are in Nashville today for the launch event.


About the Greater Memphis Chamber
For more than 175 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been the lead economic development organization for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,200 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. The foundation educates the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. For more information, visit

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity. For more information, visit
About Gallup

Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
About USA Funds
USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion With a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to and success in higher education. Learn more about USA Funds’ College Value initiative at