Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced projects receiving funding through the second round of the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program which prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide. Tennessee has made notable progress in rural workforce development in recent years which has resulted in securing over 24,000 new jobs and nearly $13 billion in capital investment in rural counties since 2019.
Since creating GIVE, Gov. Lee’s first legislative priority, he has invested $50 million in the program to support rural workforce development through technical education. The first round of GIVE funding in 2019 served an estimated 8,000 students, and this second round will serve an estimated 7,500 students.
“We are especially proud to announce these well-deserved grants during National Workforce Development Week,” said Gov. Lee. “Rural workforce development has been one of my top priorities since day one, and I’m glad to see the remarkable progress we’re making. By developing a highly skilled workforce, Tennesseans’ lives are transformed, and companies are choosing to invest and expand in our state at record rates.”
The second round of GIVE grants will fund 13 projects in East Tennessee and 27 projects statewide, including a project designed to add advanced manufacturing, robotics and information technology certificate programs at the TCAT-Nashville satellite campus in Springfield, TN in Robertson County. The programs supported through this grant, totaling $979,898, will allow adult residents of Robertson County as well as students at three Robertson County high schools to obtain practical skills in advanced manufacturing, administrative office technology, and computer information technology.
“Our local industries are growing as expanding and many are in the process of upgrading to a higher degree of automation. Workforce availability is critical as they continue to grow. In addition, Robertson County has more than 800 new jobs coming online in the next twelve months in manufacturing, including two new industries, Puritan Manufacturing and Advanex America. Most of these jobs will require skills in the IT or advanced manufacturing cluster.”, said Margot Fosnes, economic development officer for the Robertson County Economic Development Board. “The addition of these new programs to our workforce development assets will be a key factor in making sure we have the talent to fill the needs of our existing and future employers. We are grateful for the award of this significant grant to our community.”
The grant application was the result of a collaborative partnership between the Robertson County Economic Development Board, Robertson County Schools Career-Technical Education, TCAT-Nashville, the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce and local industries, Bathfitter and Airtech. The process was aided tremendously by the work of the Greater Nashville Regional Council staff to draft the successful grant application.
“This investment in TCAT Nashville’s Robertson County campus will provide students with new opportunities for training in some of the region’s most in-demand jobs,” said Michael Skipper, executive director of the Greater Nashville Regional Council. “This was a competitive grant program, and it took tremendous teamwork between all of the partners involved to ensure students have a clear pathway from high school to employment.”
TCAT-Nashville was given space by Robertson County government in Springfield for a satellite location several years. After listening to the needs of local business and industry, TCAT – Nashville leadership has agreed to replace those cosmetology programs with training opportunities in advanced manufacturing/robotics, office technology and information technology. These programs will be made available to Robertson County Schools students through dual enrollment opportunities and to adult learners through TCAT-Nashville.