Governor Lee Announces $25 Million Vocational Education Investment Through GIVE Grants

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Thursday announced projects receiving funding through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education program which prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide. Chattanooga State Community College and Cleveland State Community College will both receive funds.

“We are proud to work with the General Assembly to pass the GIVE initiative and expand career and technical education for Tennessee students,” said Governor 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. 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 percent most economically distressed in the nation while at-risk counties rank between the bottom 10 percent and 25 percent of the nation’s counties.

“Equipping our young people with the skills necessary to obtain gainful employment is the primary goal of our education system, and this sizable grant will help students in Chattanooga achieve this goal,” said Senator Todd Gardenhire. “This investment will increase opportunities for our high school students to complete vocational training and obtain a certificate not long after graduating high school. When we invest in education and center our education system around the needs of students, we begin to build the kind of future that will provide a better life for the next generations of Tennesseans one individual at a time.”

“It is an exciting time to live in Tennessee. Our economy is strong, our unemployment rate is at record lows, and we continue to see robust job creation supported by rising incomes,” said Senator Bo Watson, chairman of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee. “There are countless benefits to this amount of economic activity, but it has also resulted in many unfilled skilled jobs, especially in the healthcare sector. I am pleased this investment will help close that gap and give high school students in our area a head start on attaining a certificate after graduation.”

Here is the list of GIVE projects and recipients:

Project Title



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


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


Investing in Vocational Education in Three Distressed Counties

TCAT Oneida


Fabricating a New Workforce in Clay County through Welding Technology

TCAT Livingston


CNA to BSN (C2B): A Prescription for Nursing Shortages for Rural West Tennessee

Dyersburg State Community College


Machining in Warren County – Shaping Your Career

TCAT McMinnville - Upper Cumberland Development District


Southwest Tennessee Alliance for Advanced Manufacturing Programs

TCAT Whiteville


Diesel Maintenance

TCAT Livingston


GIVE Technical Skills to Rise Above Distressed to Best

TCAT Hohenwald


GO TECH: Growing Opportunities with Technology

Volunteer State Community College - Greater Nashville Technology Council



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