Nearly 17K jobs rely on medical device making

GMMDCThe medical device industry accounts for nearly 17,000 jobs and has a local economic impact of more than $2.6 billion, according to a study released Tuesday by the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council (GMMDC).

“The results of this study make clear what we already knew, that the medical device industry is a significant economic driver in Shelby County,” said Gene Baker, GMMDC chairman, and Smith & Nephew vice president. “What we hope these details will shed light on is, despite minimal investment in medical device manufacturing workforce development, the industry provides some of the best career opportunities in our community.”

He continued, “With the help of our partners, it is the mission of the GMMDC to create meaningful training programs and continue to foster the growth of an industry that makes up nearly 4 percent of the total GDP of Shelby County.”

The study, made possible by a grant from the Economic Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County (EDGE), used data surveyed from 50-area medical device companies and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Prepared by economic impact consultants Younger and Associates, the report found that medical device industry in Shelby County accounts for $2.66 billion in economic impact, 16,823 direct and indirect jobs, $1.2 billion in wages and more than $46 million in local property taxes.

John Threadgill, president and CEO of the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC), said, “When we start planning the creation of the GMMDC, we knew that completing this study would be key to educating the community on how important the medical device industry is to Shelby County. But this study is not about what we have; its existence is to make it clear that we can grow this incredible economic resource by making investments in developing a competitive workforce that can fill the jobs this industry will create in the future.”

According to the study, medical device manufacturing jobs in Shelby County had an average wage of $88,660, which is 66 percent higher than the average wage for Shelby County.

Glen Fenter, president of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW), said, “Shelby County needs a workforce with the skills the medical device industry requires, both today and in the future. If we focus our resources on building the workforce the medical device industry needs in the future, imagine what we can grow $2.6 billion to.”


The vision of the GMMDC is to strengthen job growth through the development of a world-class comprehensive workforce that serves the Memphis area biomedical industry.

The GMACW was created to build a pipeline of high-skilled workers to address the needs of businesses in the Mid-South area. Its two-prong strategy focuses on providing employers access to the quality workforce they need to compete and citizens access to the skills they need to get great jobs.

Through the collaboration of its partner organizations, the alliance works every day to build career pathways between the unemployed and the area’s open high-skill positions.

GMACW serves the nine counties of the Memphis metropolitan area to connect employers with training and hiring resources, create employer-driven training programs centered around career pathways, and support students and job candidates through career exploration and training. Simply put, GMACW envisions employers having the talent they need to compete and the people the skills they need to get good jobs.