The creation of the strategic plan began with analysis of the future of the Middle Tennessee region and an exploration of the economic predictors for growth during the next ten years in the Joint Metro Service Region comprising the Nashville and Clarksville Statistical Areas (MSAs). Analysis of the Nashville and Clarksville Joint Metro Region indicates that the area has experienced rapid growth in the past five years and that the growth will continue at a steady pace through 2025 ( The Research Center, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2015). An increased pattern of migration to the Nashville/Clarksville Joint MSA brought over 20,000 migrants in 2015 (Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2015). On average, one in ten migrants to the Nashville/Clarksville Joint MSA will choose Clarksville as their home. The composition of those migrating to the Nashville/ Clarksville Joint MSA is diverse with an increase of internationals choosing to live, work and build businesses in the Nashville/Clarksville Joint MSA (Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2015).
According to data from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce publication, Vital Signs, “While the percentage of adults in our region who have obtained education after high school has increased in recent years, the region does not yet produce enough graduates with the needed skills to fill jobs being created in Middle Tennessee.” The National Growth Rate is currently 2.5 % ; Nashville, well above the National Growth Rate, currently has a 6.9% growth rate (The Research Center, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2016). Clarksville is experiencing a 5.8% growth rate with Montgomery County experiencing a 7.3% growth rate (Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, 2015). Community and government planning, therefore, are necessary to keep pace with the current and expected growth of the Nashville/Clarksville Joint MSA and to meet the growing industry need for workers with mid-level job skills such as those found in STEM fields, information technology, the medical and health fields, business management and cultural arts related fields.
Austin Peay State University acknowledges the unique economic environment of the Nashville/Clarksville MSA and seeks to meet the particular challenges that the middle Tennessee region will face in the next ten years related to growth and expansion through five strategic goals which respond to the findings of the environmental and economic analysis. The five goals seek to expand access and increase enrollment, support retention and graduation to meet the current and the coming workforce demand, maintain institutional functions at more efficient levels while increasing capacity, give quality experiences and global perspective and finally to increase the name recognition and promotion of the value of an Austin Peay degree in the regional marketplace.