Viable Pathways

Economic prosperity for our community, student by student. Viable Pathways is a cross-sector initiative connecting Hamilton County students with quality pathways directly linked to thriving wage jobs.

Chattanooga 2.0 has set a bold goal of creating 10 viable pathways by 2027.

Currently, three pathways are available: lineworking, welding, and data analysis. Each of these pathways have been custom-built to provide industry-informed training and learning experiences that prepare students for high-demand jobs in Hamilton County. Students have reliable pathways through a complicated system that includes wraparound supports to get them IN and THROUGH to a promising career.

toward a pathway for every student

Viable Pathways are defined by distinct characteristics to remove barriers for Hamilton County public school youth and provide debt-free tracks to thriving wage careers:

Starting salary of $50K with defined opportunities for growth and advancement.

  • $50K and clear opportunity to advance.
  • Each Viable Pathway connects to a starting job that pays at least $50K + benefits with clearly defined opportunities for growth and advancement.

  • Why $50K? This amount represents the starting wages required for a single adult in Hamilton County to cover basic costs and maintain financial stability over time. As living costs continue to rise, more and more people struggle to pay for household essentials. Chattanooga-Hamilton County young people experience high levels of economic insecurity. 39% of all Hamilton County families are economically insecure.

    At the same time, many of our young people are taking jobs that do not pay a thriving wage, preventing them from reaching financial stability. The thriving wage threshold provides a necessary bar for Viable Pathways. We want to set our young people up for success, which means putting them on the pathway to good jobs, not any job.

Proactively target employer needs and growing industries. Local employers committed to support, interview, and  hire students.

  • Studies show that by 2027 70% of jobs will require more than a high school diploma.  Closer to home, two-thirds of Tennessee business leaders believe there are not enough appropriately trained workers. Each of the Viable Pathways to Prosperity will connect students to a high quality education or training opportunity directly connected to jobs and employers. 
  • Hamilton County-Chattanooga has a long history of innovation and public-private partnership to solve big challenges. Viable pathways is a workforce development approach that builds on this tradition by connecting the needs of employers to innovative and aligned  training and education opportunities to ensure readiness on day one. By making Chattanooga-Hamilton County not only the best place to learn and train but also the ideal place for employers to impact and sustain a future workforce that is as innovative as the companies themselves. Employers have been at the table from the beginning of the pathway to the moment they interview a pathway completer.

Innovative training beyond high school that is directly informed by local employers’ skill needs.

  • Whether this is in the form of a certificate, associates degree, or a four year degree, the training will be tailored to the specific needs of the employer and a thriving wage career pathway.  Training is stackable towards future education so that someone with a certificate can count their learning towards college credit and a further degree if desired later.
  • The innovative difference with Viable Pathways in post secondary training/education is that Chattanooga 2.0 is working as an intermediary to translate the needs of employers and catalyze the strengths of educators to create dynamic and nimble forms of skill acquisition and career advancement for the youth of Chattanooga – Hamilton County.

 Exposure and preparation start in elementary school. Students and families have time to decide.

  • In order to best connect our young adults to thriving wage jobs and to build an industry-shaped talent pipeline that works people must explore and be inspired.  That is why these pathways are built from thriving wages jobs all the way back into early elementary school.
  • As early as 4th grade students will be exposed to the amazing, fun, and dynamic opportunities for careers in Hamilton County.  Studies show that the number one influence on a child’s vocational exploration is a parent/care-giver and second is a classroom teacher.  So in addition to exploratory activities that allow kids to know about jobs, we are intentional about also exposing our K-12 educators and families of students to the amazing opportunities that Viable Pathways lead to.

Seamless journey across all major transitions (high school to postsecondary training to career pathway). Comprehensive wraparounds to remove barriers. Personalized advising to support students in and through a Viable Pathway to a job.

  • Building clear and effective Pathways to get students in and through high quality training and education that leads to a thriving wage and options for advancement means not only identifying great jobs but also the gaps where students are not able to continue forward.
  • Chattanooga 2.0 is working with our community partners and local businesses to identify costs and obstacles that keep young adults from completing education and training.  Identifying these leaks in the pipeline, we have created a network of community organizations and supports to effectively and directly implement wrap around supports to increase recruitment, retention, and job placement.

Have Questions?

Andrew Hudson
Director of Viable Pathways
todd edwards
pathways advisor


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