How Memphis businesses are working with Ford’s Blue Oval City

Ford is hosting an informational meeting Thursday with 500 people with the goal to hire local subcontractors for groundbreaking of electric truck, battery plant.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday, hundreds of Memphis area small business owners, including those minority-owned, will gather to learn more about how their workers could contribute to the largest project in Tennessee history: Ford Motor Company’s Blue Oval City.

The site in Haywood County, about 40 miles north of Memphis, will build electric trucks and their batteries starting in 2025.

The facility is expected to create 6,000 jobs, thousands more indirect jobs, and 30,000 temporary construction jobs.

RELATED: Blue Oval City | What jobs may be available, and what they could pay

The goal is for area subcontractors to be hired and ready to go by the sites’ groundbreaking, sometime later this year.

For two people in Memphis’ minority small business community, Ford offers more than jobs – but an economic boom in underserved areas.

“Local businesses having the opportunity for this is a game changer,” Alandas Dobbins said. “Ford has the opportunity to change the landscape in Memphis. This opportunity is so huge.”

Dobbins is CEO of Oteka Technologies, a Black-owned business in Whitehaven which specializes in wiring computers and security cameras. She and 500 others will gather Thursday to learn more and offer Ford their assistance and workers.

“To be able to meet those people tomorrow and have that shot, that’s all we are asking for – that opportunity, that shot,” Dobbins added.

RELATED: ‘We think it’s generational’ | Ford Motor Company details ‘Blue Oval City’ plans for Haywood County

Those with Ford estimate the project – on a 4,100 hundred acre site near Memphis – will require a wide range of 30,000 temporary construction jobs.

“Everything from electricians to carpenters to steel workers, iron workers, sheet metal – it’s really all encompassing,” Ford North America EV Footprint Director Greg Christensen said. 

Christensen said Ford is committed and focused on hiring local and minority-led small businesses throughout the Bluff City.

“We are excited about their skills and their ability to deliver the project. That’s paramount, but understanding and serving some of those communities that are often overlooked is important to us,” Christensen added.

Ernest Strickland with the Black Business Association of Memphis said the goal for Memphis’ minority-led businesses isn’t just short term construction jobs at Blue Oval City but also long-term partnerships.

“We want to make sure that our Black businesses are able to have sustainable relationships with Ford for many years to come,” Strickland said.

Thursday’s informational meeting for small businesses about Ford Blue Oval City is full on registration, but there will be other events in the months ahead.

A website about more specifics will also launch Thursday afternoon.