Automotive Supply Chain Workforce Readiness Program

The Tennessee Automotive Supply Chain Workforce Readiness Program, funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), is the first program in Tennessee to bring workforce development, education and industry experts together to develop a program customized for the automotive industry to prepare workers for advancement into managerial and leadership roles. 

  • The skills gap is real - 2 million jobs are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap by 2025

  • The aging workforce is real - 2.7 million baby boomer retirements are expected

  • The need for effective front line leaders is real - gaps in supervisory and communication skills are greatest in manufacturing and production

Launching in August 2017 in the ARC Region as a pilot program led by the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services (UT CIS), the program includes the following benefits for participating automotive manufacturers:

  • The opportunity to work with workforce and industry experts to identify high-potential individuals and good leadership candidates within your organization;

  • Development of a pipeline of  high performing future leaders and managers through a comprehensive training program relevant to the automotive manufacturing sector; and

  • An increase in the supply of talent within the organization by connecting future leaders with continuing education opportunities that will foster a culture of continuous learning, development and growth providing greater value to the company.

This program is available to current and future supervisors and front line leaders in automotive companies across  the 54 Tennessee ARC counties with specific emphasis placed on participation from automotive suppliers and individuals in the following distressed counties: Bledsoe, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke , Fentress, Grundy, Hancock, Scott, Union, and Van Buren.

Program Specifics

8.5 days of training  over the course of nine months with additional opportunities for in-plant coaching with individuals and/or the team. Provided at a location near the facility, the program provides individuals with an opportunity to network and train with a cohort of other emerging leaders in the automotive supply chain. On-site training is available for a larger team.


Class Descriptions

AWRP Module

Training Topic

Training Objective


Emerging Leaders in Automotive


DISC Leadership Profile


  • Gain increased self-awareness
  • Build stronger relationships
  • Understand yourself and others
  • Improve communication and leadership effectiveness

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Essential Skills of Communicating
  • Communicate clearly and concisely
  • Understand and manage your nonverbal communication
  • Effectively communicate through listening

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Essential Skills of Leadership
  • Manage your team while enhancing team members' self-esteem
  • Effectively solve problems by focusing on team members' behavior
  • Encourage team member participation

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Resolving Conflicts
  • Recognize conflicts before they become problems
  • Identify the source of team member conflicts
  • Use effective communication to resolve conflict

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Motivating Team Members
  • Applying the four stages to influence a team member to perform a task
  • How to create a work environment that motivates higher performance

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Developing and Coaching Others
  • Essential methods to develop and coach team members
  • How to develop team members to become better and more consistent performers

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Diversity Awareness in the Workplace
  • Tools to understand and respect people of other cultures
  • Skills to gain greater understanding and respect from others
  • Create a climate where team members appreciate differences to improve interaction, increase problem solving, and promote innovation

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Supervisory Fair and Best Practices
  • Basic guidelines to reduce potential litigation and help prevent unfair and illegal discrimination in the workplace

Emerging Leaders in Automotive

Training Within Industry (TWI) - Job Relations (JR)
  • How to shift culture towards continuous improvement
  • Teach supervisors to deal with people problems encountered with culture change
  • Develop basic leadership skills

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Training Within Industry (TWI) - Job Instructioni (JI), Two four-hour sessions
  • How to explain why team member jobs are important
  • How to breakdown the job into logical steps and key points
  • How to teach the correct method of performing tasks on their own
  • How to effectively follow up to insure standard work is enforced

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Identifying Improvement Opportunities
  • Learn to identify the need for change and process improvement
  • Understanding the impact
  • Developing an improvement plan

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Improving Health and Safety
  • Practical approaches to accident prevention
  • Learn concepts of workplace accidents
  • Discuss attitudes and behaviors that impact workplace safety
  • Learn to recognize hazards

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Kata: Building Lean Culture
  • Methodologies to sustain improvements and culture change by providing the framework for a sustainable problem-solving culture
  • Improvement Kata routines
  • Coaching Kata routines
  • Turning scientific thinking into practical skills using a 4-step scientific working patterns and techniques of deliberate practice

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Risk Based Thinking
  • Process approach
  • Risk based thinking value
  • Integration of risk based thinking
  • Risk based thinking tools

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Critical Thinking Skills
  • Understand what critical thinking means
  • Obstacles to critical thinking
  • Tools to promote critical thinking

Qualitative Supply Chain Optimization

Root Cause Analysis
  • Structured methodologies to define and solve problems
  • Methodologies to include 5 Why, A3, and 8D problem solving


Company Investment

With a value of over $3,200 per participant, availability of ARC and Federal Funding allows UT CIS to offer this training program at a discounted price of $1,600 per participant. A limited number of scholarships for displaced workers (currently unemployed workers) are available.

For more information, please contact Tim Waldo or your Solutions Consultant:

Frequently Asked Questions

Who would benefit from this development program?

Current frontline supervisors, whether newly promoted or those who have been in their role for some time. Future leaders that you want to develop for new opportunities.

How much does the Automotive Supply Chain Workforce Readiness Program cost?

That will depend upon the total number of topics your leaders need. The ARC grant could help offset it from 50 to 75% depending upon your location and some other parameters set out by ARC.

What are the minimum number of courses that are required?

There are some foundational courses that all new and developing leaders will need; typically 7 of the topics listed. However, because each company is different, you can choose as many others from the list as needed. Take all 17 if that is what your team needs, if not, we can work with you to fine tune the list that will best fit your specific development needs.

Where will these courses be taught?

Cohort sizes are usually from 8 to 12 participants. This range works well because the courses are very interactive. If you have enough to form a cohort within your company, the training can be delivered on site. If several companies in one area have one or two leaders each to develop, we can form a cohort just for those companies and deliver the courses at a convenient location nearby. Our partners at the area community colleges have many options available for facilities.

How long will this training take?

This too will depend upon the number of courses chosen. We will work closely with you to ensure that we minimize disruptions in your production process. If cohorts are formed with multiple companies in an area, we’ll map out a schedule that works best for all parties.

Tim Waldo

Tim leads UT CIS efforts to develop and implement a sustainable and innovative workforce development strategy; develops programs and services to meet employers’ workforce needs; delivers consulting and training services to help employers improve workforce performance; coordinates efforts with workforce partners and resources in Tennessee and across the U.S.; and ultimately ensures that CIS workforce development activities address customer needs.

Office: (865) 974-3185     
Mobile: (865) 805-0813

Tim Waldo UT CIS instructor.