GIVE Grant Allocates $1 million to the Region

Pictured Left to Right: TCAT Instructor Clyde Mansfield, Governor Bill Lee, TCAT-Hartsville President, Mae Wright, and TCAT Hartsville welding student | Photo Credit: Chris Gregory

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced a $1 million grant award through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program to part of the Upper Cumberland region. The GIVE grant prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide.

“We are proud to work with the General Assembly to pass the GIVE initiative and expand career and technical education for Tennessee students,” said Lee. “These funds directly support our workforce development efforts in distressed and at-risk counties and are a key component of our strategy to prioritize rural Tennessee.”

Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved $25 million in the governor’s budget to incentivize collaboration at the local level among stakeholders such as higher education institutions, K-12 and economic development partners.

The award process began in June when the Tennessee Higher Education Commission issued a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP). Each proposal was required to show local data that clearly identified both workforce needs and a sustainable plan utilizing equipment, work-based learning experiences, or recognized industry certifications to increase the state’s competitiveness and postsecondary attainment goals.

The grant specifically awards almost $200,000 to the Tennessee Central Cooperative Manufacturing WBL Program in Smith County. This program will provide new equipment (Vertical Mills and Engine Lathes) for city and county high schools. It will also fund a Work Based Learning program for Smith County’s students, which will connect them to local industries, establish a Work Ethic Distinction program, and develop essential skills employers now seek. 

“Winning this grant was a significant accomplishment, and it will help train High School students who want to start a career, and earn a decent salary, immediately after high school,” says Dan Tidcomb from Tennessee Central Economic Authority.“ An additional debt of gratitude goes to the Greater Nashville Regional Council, Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Hartsville, Fabricated Tube Products, and Smith County’s Career and Technical Educators for including Smith County in the application, as well as, serving the County with the program in the years to come.”