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UCDD Exploring Grant Possibilities To Help Tackle Workforce Issues

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCDD Exploring Grant Possibilities To Help Tackle Workforce Issues

UCDD exploring a potential grant opportunity through the Federal Economic Development Administration that will help the region increase its average number of residents in the workforce

Executive Director Mark Farley said the EDA calls it the Recompete Program and is geared toward economically distressed counties. He said it is a unique grant that is designed to get the national average of 60 percent of working-aged people into the workforce.

Nine Upper Cumberland counties qualify for the grant, including Cannon, Clay, Cumberland DeKalb, Fentress, Pickett, Warren, White, and Van Buren.

“In essence, childcare is a part of it,” Farley said. “We would probably look at actually opening, possibly opening or partnering with someone to open a childcare facility in those nine (counties), and other things along that line. So it would allow us to actually start tackling some of these things we are able to identify through Empower.”

Farley said part of the reason counties are economically distressed is because of poverty. He said that can mean that not everyone who is able to be in the workforce works. For example, Farley said Van Buren County has one of the lowest workforce percentages at around 40 percent.

Farley said Macon, Smith, Putnam, Jackson, and Overton Counties do not qualify. He said Macon and Smith Counties are too close to the Nashville market and Jackson, Putnam, and Overton typically share their workforces.

“We do believe that if we structure a program to work on getting that workforce participation rate up to 62 percent, anything that we build in those nine counties will bleed over and benefit the other communities,” Farley said.

Farley said the grant is still in its early stages and no action has been taken yet. He said he just wanted to the board to be aware.


The post UCDD Exploring Grant Possibilities To Help Tackle Workforce Issues appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.