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Community Partnerships


The Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute (IFTI) at the U of M has worked with Shelby County Schools to identify and recruit STEM partners who will support the T-STEM Academy by helping to guide the integration of T-STEM content into core courses. In addition, these partners will advise SCS in the growth of T-STEM Programs of Study that are aligned with STEM needs within the local transportation sector. Partners will include the following:


  • AutoZone: AutoZone, a Fortune 500 company based in Memphis, is the leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive parts and products. With a team of more than 81,000 employees or “AutoZoners,” AutoZone serves both Do-It-Yourself and commercial customers with more than 5,500 stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil, and nine distribution centers. AutoZone’s ongoing partnership with the University of Memphis has yielded several collaborations, including the AutoZone Summer STEM Camps, where high school students are offered a fun, free, week-long hands-on camp to explore all things STEM.
  • Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library’s CLOUD901: Memphis’s public library system recently opened its innovative 8,300 square-foot teen learning lab that serves as an after-school and weekend STEM resource for students. CLOUD901 has identified a partnership with its neighbor, East High School, as one of its top strategic priorities. East High School students are among the most regular attenders of CLOUD901, and several current East students are employed in CLOUD901 as mentors for students less experienced with STEM tools. This summer CLOUD901 and the University of Memphis will be co-hosting a week-long AutoZone STEM Summer Camp for high school students.


  • Cummins Midsouth: Headquartered in Memphis, Cummins Mid-South is the exclusive Mid-South distributor for Cummins, Inc., the global power leader of diesel engines and related technologies. Cummins diesel engines and natural gas engines provide power to customers with trucking, transit, power generation, industrial, marine, RV, construction, and agricultural applications. Memphis-based operations include a remanufacturing plan, a global parts distribution center, and the regional office for engine/genset sales. The President of Cummins Midsouth has toured East High School and pledged significant support for T-STEM redesign.


  • Cushman and Wakefield | Commercial Advisors (CW/CA): CW/CA provides strategic advisory and occupier services in industrial real estate. The company develops client-driven real estate solutions from an understanding of the specific business drivers formulated by in-depth research. One of the key drivers for choosing Memphis is the availability of labor supply concentrations. CW/CA recognizes that in order for Memphis to be competitive on a global scale there must be strong industry engagement providing resources for the Memphis community. CW/CA’s commitment to this T-STEM project includes effort towards building its sustainability beyond the period of grant funding and bringing additional partners to the project.
  • FedEx Corporation: Headquartered in Memphis, FedEx provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. The company offers integrated business applications through operating companies which compete collectively and are managed collaboratively under the respected FedEx brand. FedEx Freight and FedEx Express (specifically its aviation group) currently support SCS in a variety of activities aligned with T-STEM project goals and FedEx workforce needs.


  • Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW): GMACW was established in late 2014 as the priority initiative of the Memphis and Shelby County Regional Economic Development Plan. The mission of GMACW is to close the area’s skill gap by 1) Driving better alignment of training and education programs with employers’ skill requirements and 2) Delivering innovative new strategies and tools to help Memphis citizens successfully navigate career pathways. GMACW currently collaborates with SCS to provide Career Readiness Training (CRT) and to administer the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) program for students. GMACW also works with industry sector councils including the council for Transportation, Distribution & Logistics. GMACW’s strategic engagement with this council will deepen the impact of GMACW’s role on the T-STEM Advisory Committee.
  • Greater Memphis Chamber: For more than 175 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber has been the lead economic development organization for Memphis/Shelby County. A private, non-profit, membership-driven organization, the Chamber is comprised of 2,200 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals. In 2015, the Chamber applied for and received designation for Memphis as one of 12 communities under the Obama Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. The IMCP program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide by supporting the development of long-term economic development strategies. The Greater Memphis Chamber recognizes the importance of transportation workforce development to continued economic growth that will help us create good jobs in Memphis and surrounding communities.


  • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE – Memphis): The Institute of Transportation Engineers is an international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals who are responsible for meeting mobility and safety needs. ITE facilitates the application of technology and scientific principles to research, planning, functional design, implementation, operation, policy development and management for any mode of ground transportation. Through its products and services, ITE promotes professional development of its members, supports and encourages education, stimulates research, develops public awareness programs, and serves as a conduit for the exchange of professional information. ITE –Memphis is represented by leaders and associates of private firms and governmental agencies that plan, design, construct, and maintain, the regional transportation systems.


  • Jamac Logistics: Jamac Logistics is an intermodal trucking company specializing in the movement of containers and trailers in and out of the Memphis area. Jamac’s president has indicated interest in providing teacher externships and student supports that build student understanding of all aspects of intermodal trucking, including truck driving, dispatching, and accounting.


  • Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA): The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) is the public transportation provider for the Memphis area. As the largest transit operator in the state of Tennessee, MATA transports nearly 11 million riders a year in the City of Memphis, other parts of Shelby County, and the City of West Memphis on fixed-route bus, paratransit, and vintage rail trolleys, covering a 311 square mile area. The system is governed by a seven-member policy board appointed by the City Mayor and approved by the Memphis City Council.


  • Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP): Over the past 40 years, OBAP has helped Memphis and Shelby County Schools become the leading OBAP Center of Excellence, reaching over 5,000 students annually with STEM programs starting in elementary school and providing students with pilot training and sUAS training. A private, membership-driven organization, OBAP has over 4,000 diverse members from all over the world along with supporters from civic organizations, aerospace companies, educational institutions and the government. Local OBAP members are interested in contributing their curriculum development resources and advice surrounding the new fields of Aerospace and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • PeopleFirst Partnership: PeopleFirst is a 501c3 non-profit organization in Memphis that brings to the table an unparalleled list of the area’s top leaders in business, government, education, and philanthropy, dedicated to building a competitive workforce for Shelby County through cradle-to-career education initiatives. Many of the business, government, and education groups represented by letters of support for T-STEM are also represented, at the executive level, on PeopleFirst’s board of directors. As PeopleFirst’s letter demonstrates, PeopleFirst recognizes the T-STEM proposal’s alignment with area-wide high-impact goals and strategies.
  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis (TCAT Memphis): TCAT Memphis is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution and the area’s premier provider of state-of-the-art technical training for workers to obtain the technical skills and professional training necessary for advancement in today’s competitive job market. TCAT Memphis operates a Diesel Powered Equipment Technology Program. This program is designed around the needs of the local transportation industry and provides skilled mechanics to area companies. TCAT Memphis has identified many ways it can bring vertical alignment to the T-STEM model – for example, incorporating East students into TCAT Simulations Days.


  • Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT): TDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system for people, goods, and services that supports economic prosperity in Tennessee. TDOT’s vision is to serve the public by providing the best multimodal transportation system in the nation. TDOT’s commitment to this project includes representation of TDOT Region 4 on the T-STEM Advisory Committee and a variety of student supports designed to prepare the next generation of civil engineers, software developers, material testers, environmental specialists, and other STEM professionals needed to develop the vision of TDOT.


  • Vaco Memphis, LLC: Vaco Memphis focuses on permanent placement in the Logistics industry. The Memphis office of Vaco has a legacy of strong involvement in the Memphis and Mid-South community, sponsoring initiatives and lending time and talents to help build the pipeline of qualified workers in the area. Its commitments to the T-STEM project include a variety of career exploration and student engagement activities for students as well as leadership in expanding the circle of T-STEM partners to include companies with which Vaco consults.


  • Workforce Investment Network (WIN): As the local workforce development agency for Memphis and Shelby County, WIN is committed to building a stronger workforce. WIN does this by aligning training that students receive, in both high school and college, to the needs of local industries. By doing so, WIN strengthens the workforce pipeline for the area’s high-demand sectors, including transportation and logistics.