Southwest Tennessee REDI receives 2010 NADO national economic development innovation award

The Southwest Tennessee Development District, based in Jackson, TN received a 2010 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for its REDI- Regional Economic Development Initiative. REDI was launched following 18 months of regional consultations by ViTAL Economy including facilitation of an economic summit of over 200 leaders in late fall of 2009 which became a catalyst to ignite REDI in April, 2010.

Designed to improve access to higher education for both youth and adults, REDI captured the attention of Washington, DC-based National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and was named one of its “2010 Innovation Award” winners in Workforce Development at its August 28-31, 2010 Annual Training Conference in San Diego, Calif. REDI is the only initiative in the State of Tennessee – in any category – to have received the distinction.

“For more than 20 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations throughout the nation a unique opportunity to showcase creative projects like REDI – Regional Economic Development Initiative, which makes it possible to advance the economic growth and sustainability of our nation’s regions. This recognition brings to the forefront the important work of regional organizations and their critical role in promoting economic development for rural and small metropolitan communities,” said NADO President Mike Norton, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District in Harrison, Arkansas.

The cornerstone of REDI is its college access program that will train workers to meet employer needs – such as at the megasite in Haywood County. “Our program will help to get our people educated and trained for the jobs of the future, will make educational attainment levels in this region of West Tennessee better and will provide people with the skills that they need to be productive employees for the industry in West Tennessee,” said REDI Director Lisa Hankins. Barker said, “We’re very excited about this national honor…It is validation that what we are trying to do is worthwhile.”