Columbia State Receives GIVE Grants to Fuel Workforce Development

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Columbia State Community College recently received funding for two workforce development grant projects through Governor Bill Lee’s second round of the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education initiative.

The GIVE program, created in 2019, enhances career and technical education statewide and prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties. The second round of the program is funding 27 projects at 21 community and technical colleges across the state, focusing on high-demand career fields.

“We are especially proud to announce these well-deserved grants during National Workforce Development Week,” said Gov. Lee. “Rural workforce development has been one of my top priorities since day one, and I’m glad to see the remarkable progress we’re making. By developing a highly skilled workforce, Tennesseans’ lives are transformed, and companies are choosing to invest and expand in our state at record rates.”

Columbia State received funding for two grant projects through GIVE: $999,400 for an Emergency Medical Technician Training Program in Hickman County Schools and $1,000,000 for an Engineering Systems Technology Mobile Classroom and Robotics Expansion.

Columbia State plans to offer a Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) program at Hickman County Schools to contribute to the goal of increasing the college-going rate in the county by five percent. With the grant funding, a mobile unit will be designed and constructed for classroom space. The funding will also cover the salary and benefits for an instructor and an ambulance for the students’ training.

“This grant will allow Columbia State to take college-level EMS education into our local high schools introducing students early to the EMS profession all while offering them the opportunity to earn degree eligible credits,” said Greg Johnson, Columbia State EMT coordinator.

Students wishing to complete the program will complete six dual credit courses and 96 hours of clinical rotations to earn an EMT-B technical certificate. The pathway will be easily transferrable, and students will receive the necessary preparation to complete the National Registry certification exam to enter the workforce straight out of high school at the EMT-B level.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Columbia State to partner with our local high schools and EMS agencies to capture student interest in the EMS profession early while securing degree eligible college credits at the same time,” Johnson said. “This project will be the first of its kind in Tennessee and will allow Columbia State to join only a few other EMT dual enrollment courses being offered in the state.”

Also covered in the funding are plans to extend Columbia State’s Engineering Systems Technology (EST) program currently in Williamson, Hickman, Maury and Lawrence counties to other high schools in the nine-county service area. More advanced EST courses in the current counties and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Pulaski will also be offered.

“The grant will provide purchase of basic trainers at some schools and advanced trainers will be in the mobile unit,” said Mehran Mostajir, Columbia State engineering systems technology program director. “The mobile unit will travel to different locations, this way the students can complete more advanced courses without traveling to the Columbia Campus to get their Associate of Applied Science degree or technical certificate.”

In extending the program, a box truck will be transformed into the Engineering Technology Mobile Classroom that will be equipped with advanced training equipment. An instructor from Columbia State will drive the mobile classroom to each program location so students can train on state-of-the-art equipment. Upgrades in equipment will also be installed at current and new locations.

“The GIVE Grant will give us the funding to enhance the current programs at county high schools similar to Fairview High School where student can receive their A.A.S. degree or technical certificate,” Mostajir said.

“The programs, projects and partnerships funded by this second round of GIVE grants will enable our community and technical colleges to expand their training opportunities for Tennesseans to learn the skills and earn the credentials they need to succeed in high-demand careers across the state – changing the trajectory of their families’ lives forever,” Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said. “We’re grateful to Governor Lee, members of the General Assembly, and our partners in state and local agencies for providing resources to help our colleges continue powering Tennessee’s economy by training the workforce for jobs that employers desperately need to fill.”

For more information on the GIVE initiative visit www.tn.gov/thec/bureaus/legal-and-external-affairs/redirect-legal-and-external-affairs/give-program/give.html.

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