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Our Work

At UTGI, we think green job growth is key to the future of Knoxville’s economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. We support a wide variety of stakeholders who stimulate green job growth through responsible, sustainable, and just economic development. We do this by facilitating collaboration and building networks, serving as a grant partner with community organizations, and offering research services that inform the work of these stakeholders.

UTGI as a Facilitator and Organizing Conduit

The 2013 and 2015 Green Economy Forums, two well-attended community wide forums convoked by UTGI, demonstrated increasing interest and participation in sustainable economic growth among diverse stakeholders in Knoxville. We continue to organize community-wide forums, while also producing research on Knoxville’s green economy. UTGI employs Graduate Research Assistants and Post-Doctoral Fellows focused on community organizing, corporate responsibility, and contradictions of Knoxville’s high-tech greening economy. UTGI leverages ongoing scholarship and practical engagement to nurture sustainable economic activities that lead to green jobs in Knoxville and surrounding areas.

UTGI as a Grant Partner

UTGI has proposed projects to grant organizations such as the Institute for Sustainable Communities, the Sociological Initiatives Foundation, and the University of Tennessee Alliance of Women Philanthropists. We pursue grant opportunities that stress community empowerment, participatory research, sustainable behaviors, and social justice. We partner with community organizations engaged in our project ideas, such as the non-profit organization SEEED (Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development), municipal governments, the Tennessee Valley Authority, local utilities, and others.

UTGI as a Consultant

In a consultant capacity, UTGI customizes research according to client needs, which allows clients to make informed decisions about programs, projects, and budgets. Utilizing social science research methods, UTGI offers expertise in:

  • Research Design
  • Participant Observation
  • Focus Groups and Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Project Evaluation Research
  • Stakeholder Collaboration
  • Database Construction
  • Data Analysis

UTGI has provided services to the City of Knoxville Sustainability Office and TVA by conducting focus groups to document attitudes of local green economy leaders, and evaluated a local organization’s effectiveness in providing outreach to low-income residents for a city-led weatherization program. We designed a survey for the UTK Office of Sustainability, and created a university-wide database to facilitate collaboration among all faculty and staff working on sustainability initiatives. We continue to leverage momentum from these efforts to push green jobs and research forward.

UTGI’s Future Work

UTGI continues to foster a greening economy in the Knoxville region. We are developing partnerships with stakeholders who share our interest in data-driven programs that promote community empowerment and sustainability. We are growing a client base to provide research services, as well as identifying partners for joint-collaboration on grant proposals.