RCAM Case Study: Building the 21st Century Workforce

In 2009, Hillhouse Creative was hired by the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) to develop branding, visual identity and all informational and marketing tools for the new Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM), located in downtown Kingsport’s (Tennessee) Academic Village. RCAM is a 26,000-square-foot teaching facility designed to provide advanced manufacturing training to fill job-skills gaps faced by local business and industry. Both the Academic Village and RCAM were established through the efforts of AMP, a public-private coalition created to address workforce development issues. The partnership includes the city of Kingsport, the state of Tennessee, local industries and Northeast State Community College.

Project Goal

Local industries, such as Eastman Chemical Company and Domtar Corporation, faced losing hundreds of employees annually due to the retirement of baby boomers in this location’s working population. AMP solicited Hillhouse Creative to help educate local residents about the urgent need for trained workers and the high-tech training opportunities now available through RCAM. Monthly meetings were conducted with members of AMP to evaluate efficacy of campaign efforts.

Methods Used

Hillhouse Creative’s team developed a strategized, 18-month campaign that applied direct, first-person messaging (“I am the 21st century workforce.”) and portrait photography of real workers to hit home the reality that advanced training and job security were within reach through RCAM. Using the theme “Building the 21st Century Workforce,” the campaign we initiated included the following elements:

  • Development of new logo and visual identity (applied to business cards, letterhead, vehicle wraps, environmental graphics, signage)
  • New website, ManufacturingFuture.net
  • Overview video: “The RCAM Story: Building the 21st Century Workforce”
  • Testimonial and informational videos clips displayed on website and YouTube
  • Various rack brochures directed at advanced manufacturing students
  • Scheduled series of press releases and PSAs (print, radio, TV)
  • Various print ads for magazines and local publications

Results

When our 18-month campaign was launched in 2009, RCAM had 145 students enrolled in its semester training programs. By 2013, enrollment at the facility had increased 190 percent.

In 2009, Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance presented its American Government Award to the Kingsport higher education initiative, which includes RCAM.