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Motlow to receive nearly $1 million in GIVE grant funds

Motlow GIVE Grant Team, seated l-r: Debra Smith, interim dean of students; Susan Welch, CTE director for Lincoln County Schools; Rugena Dotson, CTE director for Fayetteville City Schools; Tammy O’Dell, director of grants; and Ingrid Rascoe, career and technical programs coordinator. Standing, l-r: Terri Bryson, vice president of external affairs and workforce innovation; Donald Choate, emerging technology liaison and trainer; Dr. Jeff Horner, executive vice president for academic affairs and student success; Larry Flatt, executive director of automation and robotics training center; Bobby Cox, director of Warren County Schools; Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs; Hilda Tunstill, vice president for finance and administration; and Melody Edmonds, assistant vice president for academic affairs.

LYNCHBURG, TN (April 15, 2020) –

Motlow State and its partners have been awarded a state grant for $949,410 through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program for a Teaching Innovative Learning Technologies (TILT) project. The project reflects Motlow’s commitment to continue building pathways between secondary and postsecondary education.

“Our primary goal through the GIVE grant is to foster and strengthen long-term regional partnerships between Motlow, industry, workforce development agencies, and K-12 school systems,” said Fred Rascoe, dean of career and technical programs and project lead. “We are excited to continue developing advanced learning programs for middle school and high school students that facilitate students’ progression to a postsecondary school such as Motlow.”

The Motlow GIVE-TILT project, estimated to impact 300 students over the 30-month grant, aids in reaching ‘Drive to 55’ goals through the creation and expansion of pathways between secondary and postsecondary institutions. The mechatronics program in Fayetteville will be expanded by the addition of the robotics concentration. The Robotics concentration instructs in industrial robotic safety, operation, maintenance, end-effector design and application, and robot integration into a mechatronics system.

The TILT project will also create a computer coding program for partner school districts beginning at the middle school level, teaching students Swift coding, and a high school program for students to obtain certification in Python coding.

According to the 2018-19 Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) Fact Book, the number of Tennessee students enrolling in postsecondary education right after high school graduation was down slightly from the prior year (63.7 percent) at 62.5 percent— an indication for the need to increase postsecondary enrollment.

Partnering with Motlow for the project are Fayetteville City Schools, Lincoln, and Warren County Schools, FRANKE, Hamilton-Ryker TalentGro, VideoBomb, Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board, and the McMinnville-Warren County Industrial Development Board.

“Teaching coding, programming, and development demonstrates to the students the importance of logical thinking, organization, and improves problem solving skills,” said Donald Choate, Motlow emerging technology liaison and trainer. “Our cultural and economic landscape is changing as we have become a high-tech society and culture. We want to give our students the skills necessary for a successful high-tech future.”

Governor Bill Lee announced 28 partnerships that will receive funding through the GIVE program that totals $25 million in state funding. The program prioritizes K-12, postsecondary, and industry alignment across rural Tennessee to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship programs that reflect local industries’ workforce needs and enhances career and technical education statewide.

These programs include in-demand skills that industry requires as indicated in multiple data sources, including THEC’s 2019 Labor Supply and Demand Report, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Jobs4TN database, and the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections database. The development of the GIVE-TILT project was prepared and written by Tammy O’Dell, grant writer and coordinator, Fred Rascoe, principal investigator, and Donald Choate, co-principal investigator. Motlow grant team members include Terri Bryson, Melody Edmonds, Larry Flatt, Tammy Foust, Jeff Horner, Teal Lynch, Tammy O’Dell, Sally Pack, Kathy Parker, Debra Smith, and Hilda Tunstill.

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