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Business Monthly - Citizens for Progress Scholarship Fund grows
The Career Technical Education program at WCHS teaches welding, a skill which is in high demand in the Warren County workforce.

The Citizens for Progress Scholarship Fund began in July 2007. Since that time, well over $1 million has been raised and awarded to the youth of Warren County.   

CFP served the purpose that TN Promise was introduced in the fall of 2015 for the seven years prior. TN Reconnect then came alone to negate the need for aid to students over 24 years of age.

Some might have thought that would be the end of CFP.  I am pleased to report the CFP Fund is alive and well and in fact growing in demand and need.  

The primary reason for this demand is dual enrollment at Warren County High School based on an ever-increasing number of college class options from Motlow State Community College and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology while students are still in high school. This is especially beneficial to area manufacturers and commercial employers, as WCHS now boosts the finest CTE (Career Technical Education) program in Tennessee.   

There are now about 400 WCHS students taking dual enrollment classes.

The demand continues to increase as students are increasingly aware of the overall program success.  Job placement after WCHS and/ or additional education at Motlow and TCAT has been very successful. In cases such as welders and machinists, job demand is higher than the number of graduates. This collaboration has been a proven pathway to good jobs and careers.  

Motlow began a “Middle College” program at WCHS two years ago that allows students to enroll full time (12 or more hours) at Motlow while also attending WCHS. That now has allowed several students to graduate from Motlow with an associate’s degree the same month as earning a WCHS diploma. Imagine an 18-year-old starting their junior year in college the following fall after high school graduation.  CFP provides aid to such motivated students.  

TCAT at McMinnville has its instructors now at WCHS teaching welding and machine shop technology. The welding program features 10 fully equipped welding cells. A student can take two years of welding during their junior and senior years of high school.  Then the new graduate can matriculate to TCAT at McMinnville for 8-10 months to earn a two-year welding degree certificate and be placed in an industrial job paying $19-$20/hour.   

This same success model is being applied to the new machine shop technology program at WCHS. One year ago, TCAT was awarded a $1 million GIVE Grant to fully equip the machine shop technology lab/ program at WCHS. Simply stated, this is the finest and newest such program in the state.

Given the amount of knowledge and skills to be acquired, the CFP Oversight Committee has tentatively approved the funds for 10 WCHS sophomores (in August) to start dual enrollment classes in this program this August.

CFP will pay the $600 tuition fee for the 2021-22 academic year. Sophomores are not eligible for dual enrollment funds – reserved for juniors and seniors.

This CFP Fund utilization will give a desired boost to this new program. A key reason for this support is the eight area manufacturing firms that were partners in the GIVE Grant.  Most have supplied company banners on the wall of the TCAT lab at WCHS. These firms are as follows:

• Boles Tool


• Bouldin & Lawson

• Quality Mold Shop

• Newell Brands

•McMinnville Workholding

• MtlWrx

• Schmiede

This update notes the recent passing of key Motlow employee and leader Fred Rascoe.  Fred was the Dean of Career Readiness & Technology. It was Fred who developed the new collaboration between Motlow and Tennessee State University (TSU) leading to a four year bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology (IT).  Students must earn a two-year associate’s degree in Mechatronics to enter the IT program. Then the third and fourth year are taken at Motlow-McMinnville using Motlow and TSU instructors.   

TSU is sending four different instructors to McMinnville, all of which have PHD degrees and two of which are department heads. Most undergraduate college students do not benefit from this level of instruction. Most PhD college instructors are reserved for graduate schools.  

Year one of this program had four students. Two remain in the program and will be the first to graduate with the IT degree this May. Last August, 11 new students started the program. With the many advantages of earning a four-year degree within Warren County, Fred’s vision is expected to see ever-increasing student interest and demand for this program.   

Starting last August, the CFP Oversight Committee approved the offer of $1,000 a year scholarship aid for 3rd and 4th (starting next fall) students in this program. CFP has already paid the $11,000 in scholarship aid for this academic year. This is the first time the CFP Fund has given aid beyond the first two years of college. These IT graduates are expected to be in high demand by area employers.

Fall 2020 scholarship aid with the CFP Fund totaled $25,600 and was extended to 57 students. This was aid to Motlow, TCAT, and TSU. A similar amount is expected this spring semester. This is the highest fall semester aid in several years. Donations received during 2020 were $56,125. The donors were as follows:

• Bridgestone-Warren:$10,000

• Yorozu Automotive: $10,000

•Warren County: $10,000

• City of McMinnville: $10,000

• US Bank: $2,500

• Lynne Cole: $2,000

• Morrison Industries: $1,500

• Ben Lomand Connect: $1,000

• McMinnville Electric System: $1,000

•Homeland Community Bank: $1,000

• First National Bank MT: $1,000

• Ascension River Park Hospital: $ 1,000

• Todd & Kathy Herzog: $1,000

• Brown Lee Ford:$500

• MTNG:$500

• Caney Fork Electric Coop:$500

• Miscellaneous:$2,625

BRAC offers a deeply felt expression of gratitude for this generosity. BRAC’s No. 1 priority is the higher education of our youth. CFP is the prime vehicle for BRAC in this endeavor. This spring is the time of each year when BRAC appeals to its members and the community for donations. Please consider giving to the 501(c)3 charity for CFP which is Foundation for Educational Progress in Warren County

Donations can be sent to the Chamber of Commerce at 110 S. Court Square in McMinnville at 37111. The Chamber functions as the administrator for CFP.  

Citizens for Progress is precisely what the name indicates. 

Thanks again to our valued donors. Progress will indeed continue. Please say a prayer for Fred Rascoe. 

He was a hero to CFP and the students involved.