HTC will be one of only seven nonprofit, accredited training centers throughout the state

Cookeville – The Highlands Economic Partnership (HEP) launched the new Highlands Training Center (HTC) during a grand opening event Tuesday, Jan. 24.

In early 2022, the Upper Cumberland collaborative aimed at alleviating poverty in the region, Empower Upper Cumberland, was selected to receive $25M in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Opportunity Act funds to implement its plan to move families away from the traditional poverty management model and toward poverty alleviation; seeking to lift children and their families out of poverty rather than treating the symptoms of poverty in the current poverty management system.

The Empower UC collective impact group was formed with key community and regional partners including HEP, Upper Cumberland Labor and Workforce Development Board (UCLWDB), Tennessee Technological University (TTU), Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation (CRCF), Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD), WCTE Central TN PBS, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA), as well as community members.

 HEP, a four-county economic development partnership under the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, was allocated $1.5 million of the TANF Opportunity Act funds to establish the new HTC as part of the Empower UC project.

The center will focus on workforce reentry, providing training on resume and cover letter writing, salary negotiation, emotional intelligence along with professional development to community members hovering at or below the poverty line to decrease those on government assistance and increase the average median income of families in the Upper Cumberland.

Additionally, the HTC will be one of only seven nonprofit, accredited training centers throughout the state.

“Our primary goal and mission within the Highlands Training Center is to fill our community’s workforce needs with individuals, enriched with life skills and motivated by a strong work ethic,” said Ryan Barnhart, HTC Executive Director. “By accomplishing these goals, we will have a profound positive impact on populations of poverty for generations to come.”

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