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Farley: Empower Upper Cumberland To Roll Out Next Year

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Farley: Empower Upper Cumberland To Roll Out Next Year

UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said he is confident that the newly funded “Empower Upper Cumberland” initiative will be successful.

The Human Resource Agency was awarded $25 million in federal funding Thursday to implement a three-year pilot to reduce poverty. Farley said the relationship-based model has worked in multiple other states.

“So while we are nervous and we understand there is going to be a lot of pressure to get a successful program off the ground,” Farley said. “We know that the partners that we have joined with outside the state of Tennessee the consultants that we have worked with have proven methods that can help us get it established and be successful in Tennessee.”

Farley said up to 60 new paid positions will be created through the three-year pilot. The goal is to bring 800 families across the region out of poverty.

“It’s a very big day for the Upper Cumberland Region,” Farley said. “Not just for the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, but for many core partner agencies throughout our region who are a part of this process. This gives us an opportunity to change the way we do business.”

Farley said the program will work through partnerships with employers, workforce partners and faith-based groups. Farley said not only will families receive financial resources but also establish prosperity coaches.

“It gives us an opportunity to try some new things to try to help a lot of our young struggling families get on a stronger foundation and move up the economic ladder. I’m extremely excited,” Farley said. “It is truly an unique opportunity that we’ve been presented and have the opportunity to be a part of.”

Farley said the plan is to role out the program at the beginning of next year. Farley said work will begin next week with the state. Farley said the search for potential staff members will begin shortly after.

The funding comes from the Tennessee Opportunity Pilot Initiative created as part of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Opportunity Act.


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