Tech-REDI grants support regional economic development

Organizations across the Upper Cumberland recently received grants through Tech-REDI, the Regional Economic Development Institute at Tennessee Tech University, to support projects that will boost economic development and quality of life in the region.

Funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, grants to the Upper Cumberland Public Television station, WCTE, will help fund three projects, specifically “Economics of Education in the Upper Cumberland,” a call-in program that addresses workforce skills, school dropout rates and other related topics, and two tourism projects.

The first tourism project will promote Clay, Pickett and Fentress counties. The spot will bring national attention to the cultural heritage, history and natural beauty of the economically depressed regions in an effort to boost tourism and attract retirees to the area. The second tourism project will promote awareness of the same attributes of the entire Upper Cumberland region, all in an effort to increase tourism development.

“Our mission supports a special commitment to enriching the lives of people and communities in the Upper Cumberland region,” said Susan Elkins, vice president of TTU Extended Programs and Regional Development. “Our grant recipients share our same commitment to helping make the Upper Cumberland a better place to live, work and play.”

Tech-REDI pairs TTU resources with the efforts of industries and government entities to enhance the economic environment in the Upper Cumberland.

Opportunities for program development span several areas, including community infrastructure, education and training, energy, entrepreneurships and business development, asset-based development, export and trade development, health, leadership, telecommunications, tourism, and transportation and highways.

Other recent Tech-REDI grants are supporting projects in Clay, Fentress, Jackson and Warren counties.

ARC funds will help complete renovations at the Chamber of Commerce and support a community auditorium in Clay County.

In Fentress County, ARC funds will support improvements to the Clarkrange Business Park that are expected to increase visits from companies interested in relocating to the county.

In Jackson County, ARC funds will be used to purchase computers for adult student learning programs. The county hopes to help adult students develop skills to help them obtain better careers and compete in a global economy.

ARC funds will support two initiatives in Warren County, including the production of Bluegrass Underground, a radio show taped 333 feet below ground in Cumberland Caverns. Additional sponsors include the Tennessee Department of Tourism and Nissan North America.

Another Tech-REDI grant will support the 100% Graduation – Education is Important program in Warren County, which encourages businesses, community leaders and members to support and positively impact high school graduation rates. Businesses and individuals will receive items like posters and tassels to signify their support of the program.

For more information about Tech-REDI, contact Dennis Tennant, associate director of TTU Extended Programs and Regional Development, at 931-372-3300.

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