Amelia Talks Business and Growth photo

Knoxville is a beautiful city with some of the friendliest, most laid-back folks you’ll ever meet. It is also a transportation hub, with interstate 40 and 75 running through our city, and 81 just down the road. Knoxville is also within a day’s drive of half of the continental U.S. Our city is truly a gem that is ripe for businesses to locate.

Much discussion has focused on the need for more professionals in the trades and that discussion must include weatherization and other green jobs. I support the NAACP’s proposal that the city of Knoxville develop a training-to-employment construction career ladder and would encourage that the career ladder should prioritize green job creation within the housing construction and rehab industry. In addition, a massive city investment in retrofitting public buildings would provide an opportunity to expand local weatherization training programs and expand local green jobs and businesses.

Knoxville has a draw that brings many home even after they’ve spent many years away from Knoxville. The trick is getting more and more young professionals to spend their 20s in Knoxville rather than leaving until it’s time to have a family or retire. Young people bring vibrancy and life to a city as they tend to be active at all times of the day, including late into the evening. Therefore, young folk need a city that will match their energy with walkable shopping districts, a fun nightlife, and spaces to gather and socialize. Young people also need jobs, opportunity, affordable housing, and the typical amenities expected of any city such as a social safety net that addresses and prevents a city from experiencing growing wage gaps and poverty that may present concerns about the overall health and stability of a city. Young people are looking for a city to invest in and commit their families to for generations to come. We should consider investments as a city that take advantage of our logistical convenience such as passenger rail. Amtrak previously had a stop in our city. How might Knoxville entice Amtrak to return? Businesses are looking for a city with conveniences such as transportation options as well as amenities that will help that business be most successful - a city where their employees will have access to adequate health services, good schools for families, and city benefits that increase the package a company is able to offer an employee. Considering a light rail system for Knoxville’s future as we redesign how our city will function 50 years from now could help improve the quality of life of future generations as the population is projected to significantly grow in Knoxville.