Lee announces $25M in vocational education grants

Gov. Bill Lee’s administration is announcing $25 million in grants under his vocational education initiative, a major part of the Republican’s campaign platform last year

Here’s the release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced projects receiving funding through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program which 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 program prioritized economically distressed and at-risk counties in the RFP process. The 28 funded projects will serve all economically distressed counties and 18 of the 24 at-risk counties.

The Appalachian Regional Commission index of economic status categorizes counties as at-risk or distressed based upon their three-year average unemployment rate, per capita market income, and poverty rates. Distressed counties rank among the 10% most economically distressed in the nation while at-risk counties rank between the bottom 10% and 25% of the nation’s counties.

The full list of GIVE projects and recipients:

Project Title Recipient Amount
Career-Aligned Learning Pathways Project: Implementing NCCER National Industry Certification TCAT Athens $   111,002
Welding Program Expansion – Giles County TCAT Pulaski $   310,146
Innovative New Vocational Education in the State of Tennessee (INVEST) TCAT Jacksboro $   750,000
Cyber Defense Mobile Columbia State Community College $   841,320
Trane Training Lab: New HVAC Training Program with Alcoa City Schools TCAT Knoxville $   892,745
Jackson-Madison County Manufacturing Alliance: An Educational Pathway to Student Success TCAT Jackson $   927,580
Teaching Innovative Learning Technologies (TILT) Motlow State Community College $   949,410
Developing the Healthcare Workforce for Today Chattanooga State Community College – Southeast Tennessee Development District $   976,254
Digital Agronomy Program TCAT Covington $   978,813
Northeast Tennessee STEM to Work TCAT Elizabethton $1,000,000
BRIDGE to Work TCAT Dickson – Northern Middle TN Workforce Board $   987,699
Regional Transportation Education Center TCAT Crump – The Ayers Foundation $   997,688
GIVE Blount County Careers Collaborative (BC3) Pellissippi State Community College $   998,416
Northeast Tennessee IT Career Accelerator Pathway Northeast State Community College $   998,823
GIVE Knox County Careers Collaborative (KC3) Pellissippi State Community College $   999,874
Fast Forward for Success (F3S) Roane State Community College $   999,950
Tennessee Central Cooperative Manufacturing WBL Program TCAT Hartsville – Tennessee Central Economic Authority $   994,995
Advanced Technologies Apprenticeship Institute Cleveland State Community College $   999,956
Partnership in Agricultural Education (PAE) TCAT Crump  $   999,978
Five Rivers Partnership for Future Ready Pathways TCAT Morristown $1,000,000
Investing in Vocational Education in Three Distressed Counties TCAT Oneida $1,000,000
Fabricating a New Workforce in Clay County through Welding Technology TCAT Livingston $1,000,000
CNA to BSN (C2B): A Prescription for Nursing Shortages for Rural West Tennessee Dyersburg State Community College $1,000,000
Machining in Warren County – Shaping Your Career TCAT McMinnville – Upper Cumberland Development District $1,000,000
Southwest Tennessee Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing Programs TCAT Whiteville $1,000,000
Diesel Maintenance TCAT Livingston $1,000,000
GIVE Technical Skills to Rise Above Distressed to Best TCAT Hohenwald $1,000,000
GO TECH: Growing Opportunities with Technology Volunteer State Community College – Greater Nashville Technology Council $1,000,000

20 Responses to Lee announces $25M in vocational education grants

  • James White says:

    Thomas Sowell: If you are serious about wanting to improve education, do not vote more money for the education establishment that has been dumbing down the schools for years. Vote for vouchers, tax credits, or anything else that will transfer decision-making power to parents.

    • Not that Stuart guy says:

      This comment is ill-informed. Not only is school acheivement increasing state-wide overall, schools are doing it with less than full funding based on the General Assembly’s own funding formula. There is no proof -ZERO- that charter schools or other such alternatives improve student learning outcomes. At best they are a wash, at worst, they hurt students and communities. A better use of our state tax dollars would be to fully fund public higher education. The result would be better teachers (less turnover), more engaged teachers, and therefore better student outcomes.
      It irks me when people say “stop throwing money at the problem,” when we can easily show that we’ve never done that. Get school districts to full formula for a few years and see what happens. Its a great investment.

      • James White says:

        We should not be funding technical training. IF Mr. Lee needs more HVAC technicians, Let the HVAC businesses start their own schools. Government schools should EDUCATE and not TRAIN for Jobs. They should teach Math, English, Geography, Science, History, Civics… No Music, Sports, Technical training. Government schools should provide Equal Opportunity to each student to Learn. After 12 years the school should not care if the student passes with an A+, B, C, or even a D. Upon graduation, they should say, Go out into the world and make your mark. Government Schools should not care if you want to be a teacher, technician, doctor, or a beach bum.
        The money we are TAXED should go to education Not training. It takes a lot of money to keep kids in school for 12 years to come out Illiterate and many are getting tired of it.

      • Beatrice Shaw says:

        amen!! Charter and private schools bleed much needed dollars from a solid public education system. Our teachers should be making double (at least) what they make now, and kids should get better meals at lower to no cost to families. We have plenty of food AND money to make these changes. Giving vouchers to kids just flies in the face of sanity

      • MARLE says:

        How would more funding of higher ed guarantee better, more engaged teachers with less turnover? Who on earth made that correlation?

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    This is wonderful news!! This is why we need a good government

  • Donna Locke says:

    Two years of college courses and then two years of vocational training would be good for many people. For some, one year of college courses and then vocational training would be best. The college courses could be concurrent with the vocational training. For some, just going straight into vocational training would be preferable.

    We need different tracks like this. Four years of college the way we have been doing it is a waste for many people.

    • MARLE says:

      Of course it’s a waste of money in many cases but isn’t full employment of college administration, staff and faculty the main goal of college these days. Just try to bust this up with the use of technology and see what resistance you get.

  • James White says:

    Samuel Blumenfeld says education is an act of war:
    The plain unvarnished reality is that the public schools have become a criminal enterprise. Our educational leaders are engaged in a deliberate well planned conspiracy to dumb down the American people. Isn’t that a crime? Indeed back to 1983 the national commission on excellence in education reported “if an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exist today we might well have viewed as an act of war. As it stands we have allowed this to happen to ourselves: Why aren’t our educational leaders being held responsible for this act of war against our people? Should not the deliberate dumbing down of an entire nation be considered a crime of gigantic proportions? What about the deliberate use of teaching message that crippled the brains of our children, is that not also a crime? Medical malpractice is a punishable offense but educational malpractice is not and the educators manage to extort more and more money from a gullible public to keep doing what they were doing for decades. Is not extortion a crime? That’s is what they do, they extort money from us. Educators have also become drug pushers. Educators are forcing millions of children to take mind-altering drugs so that they won’t be able to resist the harm being done to them in the classroom. Is turning a normal child into a drug addict not a crime? What about exposing children to virtual pornographic sex education in which they are taught that perversion is perfectly normal? Is that not a kind of child molestation that should be labeled a crime? Sex education has become a battering ram against a child’s religious morality, as a result millions of children are condemned to lives as functional illiterate, mentally stunted, spiritually empty and morally vulnerable.

  • James White says:

    Samuel Blumenfeld says PUBLIC education is an act of war:

  • Donna Locke says:

    College was an almost total waste of my time and money. I went to work at my local newspaper when I was 17 and had a lot of responsibility, then had to quit to leave town to go to college. I carried a heavy load of classes and could work only in the summer. I’ve always read and studied on my own and taught my own self. I lived in a dorm and hated every minute of it. Was bored out of my mind with the whole thing. I needed a path more in tune with my own interests.

    My brother went into the military right after high school, then CLEPPED college courses without ever attending any classes. He got college credits in other unconventional ways, got out of the Navy, went to law school, passed the bar, went to work as a state prosecutor, went into private practice.

    College is overrated. I have to say my siblings and I went to excellent public junior high and high schools. They were excellent BACK THEN, and we were prepared well here in little Columbia.

    I see Mickey’s points above, but I am on board with expanded vocational training.

  • MARLE says:

    Donna, Did you mention that your husband was a principal? Did he routinely, or ever, hire teachers who didn’t have a college degree? If not, why not? Do we certify teachers in TN without a degree?

    • Donna Locke says:

      No, he wouldn’t have hired someone with no degree. College degrees are necessary in some fields.

      Teachers without education degrees but with degrees in other fields have been hired.

      My husband loved college, by the way, and stayed there as long as possible, ha.

  • Timothy Washington says:

    Think its wasted of money! Cause they for students take assessment test majority going fail .. Then take electives classes which should been taking major main course lab.. Community colleges is waste of time to opinions of someone humiliated. That’s Has financial aid

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  • ERNIE SIMMS (female) says:

    My husband and I are volunteer chaplains at the largest auto diesel college in Nashville. We find 18 and 19 year olds who see this school as their only chance at making a good salary in their lives. Many did not do so well in the traditional education route and opted into other classes halfway through high school. It kept them in school and provided some hope for their future. For some it is a second chance in life. Seeing this picture of hope makes me support what Bill Lee has just done.

  • Beatrice Shaw says:

    College should be free It’s too expensive we can all make a better living with a college degree and no student debt

    • James White says:

      Communist Plank 10. Free education for all children in government schools.

    • MARLE says:

      The course content of college COULD be free. We have the technology to bring the best Professors on Earth, both liberal and Conservative (which are rare on today’s campuses) into the living rooms OR into college classrooms BUT for the fact that the lobby against this is so strong by the current college administration and FACULTY.

  • Loria says:

    Interesting to see people who can read and write so well complaining about public education.

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