County receives $25,000 ThreeStar development grant from state

Published 5:27 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

State officials announced on Wednesday that Carter County was one of 63 counties across the state to receive a ThreeStar competitive grant.

Carter County, which is classified as a “Tier 4 county” in the ThreeStar program, received the highest grant allocation amount at $25,000. The grants are awarded by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and can be used to support a variety of local programs that address economic development, public safety, health, education, and workforce development.

To be eligible to apply for these grants, each community must meet all ThreeStar program requirements. ThreeStar focuses on best practices in five key community areas, including jobs and economic development, fiscal strength and efficient government, public safety, health, education and workforce development.

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“I want to congratulate these 63 communities on being awarded ThreeStar Competitive Grants,” TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said. “I am excited to see these communities thrive with the assistance of these grants. The projects that each awarded county will be working on are innovative and show that these Tennessee counties are committed to improving as a community, which, in turn, will make our state succeed as a whole.”

The grants range from $5,000 to the top end at $25,000. Locally, Johnson and Unicoi Counties were also awarded a $25,000 grant through the ThreeStar program, while Washington and Sullivan Counties each received a $5,000 grant.

“TNECD is proud to partner with these 63 communities as they make strides to invest in themselves and succeed,” TNECD Assistant Commissioner of Rural Development Amy New said. “The ThreeStar dollars serve as a seed money for future economic investments and local initiatives across Tennessee as we continue to build our state’s economy.”

Carter County applied for the grant through the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, which appointed Susan Robinson to serve as the coordinator for the ThreeStar program.

Robinson said she was pleased to learn that not only was Carter County selected, but the county received the full $25,000.

“It’s not a given, it’s competitive,” Robinson said of the grant. “Some counties don’t get anything.”

The plan for the grant, Robinson said, is to support the county’s participation in the ACT Work Ready Community program.

“Of the $25,000 we were awarded 100 percent is going to the program,” Robinson said. A portion of the funds will go to promoting the program while a large chunk will go to pay for testing for residents to receive their ACT Work Ready Certification.

The program aligns education, business, and economic development around the National Career Readiness Certificate. The NCRC measures an individual’s skills in the areas of applied math, reading comprehension, and reading for information. Participants are awarded bronze, silver, gold, or platinum certificates based on their performance.

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said many industries, including Eastman here in the Tri-Cities, require applicants to have an NCRC certificate to be eligible for employment. Having a large portion of the workforce certified through the program can also help attract new businesses and industries to the area, Humphrey said.