Memphis-area leaders, businesses, schools come together for Amazon pitch

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis leaders said Wednesday they were making their final push in the next week to lure Amazon to the Bluff City.

A big part of the plan included local education opportunities.

"From Bartlett to Collierville to Memphis, we’re all working together," Mayor Jim Strickland said. “We’re going to put a good application together next week with location, tax incentives, with a map on how we’re going to get a qualified workforce. We have the university and colleges all working together to all get them qualified. Community college in Tennessee is now free."

The Tennessee Reconnect program starts next year, making community college free for adults statewide. It's the first program of its kind in the country.

“We’d probably be looking at computer-based programs like computer-based technology and maybe cyber defense, which is a new program for us,” Southwest Tennessee Community College's Chris Ezell said.

Ezell said the school has turned over a presentation for the Amazon proposal. He promised additional night and weekend classes if Memphis gets the headquarters.

Other groups like the Downtown Memphis Commission and Choose 901 have joined together in a campaign with the slogan, “We can’t be put in a box, but Memphis delivers.”

They planned to light the Big River Crossing in orange Wednesday night to kick off the campaign.

“When you look at us, we're the crossroads for logistics," Ezell said. "We have railroad, Fedex, who could ask for more?”

The proposal is due next Thursday, Oct. 19.