(ARLINGTON, Tenn.,) — Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) called today’s announcement that MicroPort Orthopedics will create 171 new jobs in its Arlington facility a “major step forward in Tennessee’s workforce development efforts.” The orthopedic implant and instrument manufacturer will invest $100 million at the plant over the next five years.
“This high-tech, advanced manufacturing workforce will facilitate our efforts to close the skills gap in Tennessee and provide enhanced opportunities for our people,” said Norris. “This investment marks a major step forward in our workforce development initiative.”
Senator Norris attended Tuesday’s announcement at the Arlington plant with Governor Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and MicroPort Orthopedics officials. Hagerty credited Norris’ recent legislative efforts to accelerate job growth through workforce development by calling him “our great partner in economic development.”
Senator Norris sponsored legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2013 called the Labor and Education Alignment Program (LEAP) to facilitate a cooperative effort of government, higher education and businesses looking for skilled workers, by providing on-the-job training. LEAP enables the trainee to receive credit toward a certificate or degree and earn income regardless of student financial assistance.
This year, Norris shepherded Governor Haslam’s Tennessee Promise legislation through the Senate to provide high school graduates with last dollar tuition assistance to fill unmet financial needs for tuition and fees to help boost post-secondary degrees and meet the state’s ambitious “Drive to 55” goals. The goal is to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees from 32% to 55% to help fill the job skills gap. As Chairman of the Council of State Governments, Norris also launched the “State Pathways to Prosperity Initiative” this year which works to connect education and workforce needs to meet the demand for qualified workers.
MicroPort Orthopedics Inc. is a subsidiary of MicroPort Scientific Corporation, which is based in Shanghai, China. MicroPort Orthopedics designs, develops, and manufactures hip and knee implant devices at its Arlington campus. In addition to job creation, the company will renovate existing facilities on the Arlington campus, creating a state-of-the-art medical education facility to train surgeons, sales representatives and employees on their orthopedic products and surgical techniques. The company will begin hiring for new positions in the next few months.
Senator Norris represents Tipton County and portions of Shelby County, including Arlington, in the Tennessee Senate.