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Business Monthly - Citizens for Progress making difference
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Welding is one of many high-demand skills taught at the Career Technical Education program at Warren County High School.

The Business Roundtable (BRAC) has managed a local scholarship fund for higher education of our youth for 16 years. We are the only county in Tennessee with such a financial aid program. Our fund is called Citizens for Progress (CFP). CFP has funded well over $1.5 mullion in aid. TCAT-McMinnville and Motlow Community College continue to expand courses available via dual enrollment. This means college courses can be taken in high school usually with college instructors. Dual enrollment classes usually can be transferred for credits in Tennessee colleges. This collective program has made a big difference in higher education in Warren County. 

CFP helps in a number of ways. If dual enrollment funds do not cover the full tuition expense for juniors or seniors, CFP will pick up the difference. CFP started covering the tuition for WCHS sophomores taking Mechatronics. Tennessee now includes dual enrollment funds for freshmen and sophomores at TCATs, but not community colleges. We have had 11 sophomores taking Mechatronics with CFP aid. Grades so far are one C, two Bs, and all the rest As. Mechatronics provides a desired pathway for industrial jobs. CFP also provides $500/semester aid for students taking the TSU 2+2 program for their 3rd and 4th years. CFP also provides aid by special request when that requires a waiver. 

CFP relies on local donations to support its offered aid. 2022 represented a high water mark for CFP donations - $70,625. Donations were made by the following:

• Smith Community Trust: $15,000

• Warren County: $10,000

• City of McMinnville: $10,000

• Bridgestone-Warren: $8,000

• Yorozu Automotive: $5,000

• Lynne Cole: $4,000

• Ascension River Park Hospital: $1,500

• Ben Lomand Connect: $1,500

• Homeland Community Bank: $1,500

• MTNG: $1,000

• Judith Roney: $1,000

• Raleigh Miller, Jr.: $1,000

• Reddick Brown Ford: $1,000

• Citizens Tri-County Bank: $1,000

• Kirby Real Estate: $1,000

• Regions Bank: $1,000

• Todd & Kathy Herzog: $1,000

• Security Federal: $600

• Caney Fork Electric: $500

• McMinnville Electric System: $500

• Cumberland Lumber: $500

• Morrison Industries: $500

• Accu-Router: $500

• Misc. donations: $3,025

• Total: $70,625

The appeal efforts start in early December and run through May. There are several key plans in motion that will boost higher education in Warren County. Motlow is committed to a new 7,000 sq. ft. building behind the Robotics Center that will house Mechatronics and Cyber Security. This is expected to be started this year. TCAT’s new facility is in Governor Bill Lee's 2023 budget to the tune of $46 million. The budget has to be approved by the full legislature in early April. The new connector road and traffic light to Magness Drive is expected to happen this year. This will be a big improvement for TCAT, Motlow, the hospital and industry within this park. This is expected to be done by August. 

CFP aid is exclusively for higher education earned in Warren County. The outreach of what this can include keeps expanding. The top priority for BRAC is to assist in the level of education for all citizens. We have made significant progress in this regard. 

This also is the time of the year when we ask for donations from the readers of the Southern Standard. Citizens for Progress is a 501C3 non-profit. The full name is “Foundation for Educational Progress in Warren County.” 

Donations can be made to this foundation or simply Citizens for Progress. Donations can be sent to the Chamber of Commerce who administrates the 501C3. Thank you for your consideration.