Motlow develops new apprenticeship pathways

Motlow College recently announced three new apprenticeship opportunities coming for those interested in developing a career in the nursery industry, robotics and automation industry, and municipal water treatment. (File Photo)

EDUCATION — Apprenticeships provide an express lane to stable, high paying jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 94 percent of workers who complete an apprenticeship program retain employment with an average annual salary of $70,000.

Motlow College recently announced three new apprenticeship opportunities coming for those interested in developing a career in the nursery industry, robotics and automation industry, and municipal water treatment. Motlow staff developed the apprenticeships by focusing on its 11-county area’s specific needs. The new apprenticeships were announced this week in conjunction with National Apprenticeship Week, which happens annually on November 8-14.

Apprenticeships offer an alternative to traditional college degrees and certifications where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce. Individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally-recognized, portable credential. Apprenticeship is a proven training program used to recruit, train, and retain world-class talent, and each program is registered and validated by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Motlow will use local workforce development funds and grant funds to work with agriculture industry partners throughout Warren County to develop that program. Apprentices will complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 200 hours of classroom instruction.

The Municipal Water Treatment apprenticeship is being developed in cooperation with the Tennessee Association of Utility Districts. The program is still in the development stages, and municipal water treatment plants throughout the service area are encouraged to consider joining the apprenticeship program once details are finalized.

Automation and Robotics apprenticeship will offer participants a unique opportunity, acquiring a portion of their on-the-job training component while also completing their classroom requirements at the Automation & Robotics Training Center in McMinnville.

Motlow invites any industry interested in partnering to create other apprenticeship opportunities to reach out by emailing motlowtrained@mscc.edu. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Metro School Board meets tonight at 6 p.m.

PUBLIC MEETINGS — The Metro Moore County Board of Education will meet tonight in a regular session meeting at the Moore County High School Theater beginning at 6 p.m. To view the full agenda, click here.

In new business, the board will hear the results of the 2021-22 Instructional Calendar Public Survey and consider bids for a new school system playground at Lynchburg Elementary. They will also discuss alternative MCHS senior trip locations based on the current COVID 19 pandemic.

Director of Schools Chad Moorehead will also present the resignation of Moore County Schools Supervisor of Special Programs Jennifer Penn who will be leaving the school system to work with the UT Extension Office.

The board will discuss the Tennessee State Board of Education Hold Harmless Resolution, which holds school systems harmless from BEP funding reductions in 2021-22 based on school enrollment numbers from 2020-21 due to COVID-19 absences.

The board will also discuss security improvements at LES and the Moore Department of Education Building including a door access control system, an improved visitor check in station, and adding window tint to all DoE windows.

Rules and safety regulations for use of facilities for the upcoming Moore County Jr. Pro season at the LES Gym will also be addressed.

All Metro School Board meeting are open to the general public. To have your item added to an agenda, contact Director of School Chad Moorehead’s office at 931-759-7303. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

State extends TN Promise application deadline to December 1

The state recently extended the TN Promise deadline for all 2021 seniors until December 1. (File Photo)

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission announced this week that it will extend the TN Promise Scholarship deadline from November 2 to December 1. State officials said they made the change in order to accommodate students facing hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a time of tremendous disruption for many of our students, we want to be cognizant of the barriers students are facing and be flexible where we can,” Executive Director Mike Krause said in a press release. “Extending this deadline will ensure students who wish to attend a community or technical college tuition-free have the fullest possible opportunity to do so. We do not want the pandemic to deter students from applying.”

TN Promise gives students the opportunity to access last-dollar scholarships. It allows every high school student to attend a community or technical college tuition-free. Applicants also have access to critical non-financial supports as part of the program, including a volunteer mentor from their community.

TnAchieves recognizes that the college and scholarship process is daunting and offers support to both students and families in the process. Students in need of application support can reach out to tnAchieves by emailing tnAchieves@tnAchieves.org.

Current high school seniors must apply for TN Promise by November 2, at www.tn.gov/tnpromise. If you have any questions, please visit www.tnAchieves.org. Students must also complete the 2021-22 FAFSA by February 1, 2021 to remain eligible. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow nominates Flatt for excellence award

Motlow College recently nominated Larry Flatt for a Statewide Outstanding Achievement and Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award. Flatt’s been instrumental in the development of Motlow’s Automation & Robotics Training Center. (Photo Courtesy of Motlow College)

He’s partnered with the world’s leading automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities for student right here in southern, middle Tennessee and now Motlow State would like to honor him with a Statewide Outstanding Achievement & Recognition (SOAR) Staff Excellence Award.

Motlow State recently selected Automation & Robotics Training Center (ARTC) Executive Director Larry Flatt as its nominee for the annual Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) awarded each year.

The SOAR Staff Excellence Award’s foremost criterion is overall excellence in the responsibilities of a staff member’s specific appointment service and/or professional activity. Service is also recognized on many levels, including service to the department, school, college, profession, and community. Candidates should be able to demonstrate distinction beyond typical job responsibilities, reflecting excellence in those areas.

Flatt joined Motlow in 2012 and was a leader in creating the ARTC, overseeing the construction of the facility, and partnering with automation and robotics manufacturers to develop advanced training opportunities. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech University and his M.B.A. from Middle Tennessee State University.

“Larry has a unique compilation of knowledge, experiences, abilities, skills, and credentials,” said Executive Vice President of Workforce and Community Development Tony Millican. “His personal example represents a compelling industry-to-education career transition that is exceptionally valuable to the TBR mission. His shift from industry leader to education entrepreneur should inspire professionals in a variety of fields to share their occupational successes with generations of new learners.”

Flatt has been instrumental in developing partnerships with the world’s top three robot manufacturers: ABB, FANUC, and Yaskawa Motoman. Flatt has also cultivated partnerships with Southern Controls, Inc., Bertelkamp, Irby, Wesco, and Parker Hannifin to offer additional industry training and certification opportunities in automation and fluid power.

“The ARTC is offering courses that are essential to the needs of local industry that utilize robots,” said Flatt. “Our vision of formally partnering with industry to provide training to the exact specifications of the robot manufacturer has come to fruition. The Center provides the opportunity for individuals already employed in the robotics field to receive additional manufacturing-specific education and certification. It also provides an educational pathway for Motlow students who are seeking an A.A.S. degree or certification in robotics.”

The ARTC earned a 2019 National Association of Developmental Organizations (NADO) Impact Award for its support of regional workforce development and a 2020 Community Colleges of Appalachia (CCA) Award. Motlow has earned additional awards for the graphics that adorn the facility and the promotion of the ARTC.

The 12,500-square-feet ARTC is located on 4.5 acres of land, donated by the Warren County Commission, adjacent to the Motlow State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus in McMinnville. The ARTC offers automation training, including digital systems, sensors, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, programming, and alarm management. Robotic training can be realized through two distinctive pathways: training for industry and job seekers and college credit instruction.

For more information, visit the Motlow State website. •

Dual enrollment grows 800% at Motlow

Dual enrollment has increased at Motlow State by 800 percent. (File Photo)

EDUCATION | Motlow College’s Dual Enrollment already outpaces every other community college in the state. This week, the Moore County-based school announced that the number of students who graduated from Motlow the same semester as they graduated high school grew a phenomenal 800 percent. Dual enrollment partnerships allow high school students to take college courses in their junior and senior year to get a jumpstart on their college education.

After eight students accomplished dual graduations in 2019, Pack, working with partners from area high schools and industry, focused on increasing that dual graduation rate. In May 2020, 65 students graduated from Motlow and their high school, an increase of 800%. Leading the way in this growth was LaVergne High School, where 42 students graduated with associate degrees in General Studies.

“Motlow continues to create partnerships with high schools in our service area so any student that wants to take college courses while in high school has the opportunity to do that,” said Dual Enrollment Director Sally Pack. “We appreciate the professionals in these high schools and in industry who help support and promote dual enrollment to their students. The growth that we are experiencing is exciting.”

Pack recently worked with partners from area high schools and local industry to increase that dual graduation rate.

“We are so pleased that our dual enrollment efforts are providing these wonderful opportunities for students,” said Melody Edmonds, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs. “The team is dedicated to student success, and the students are supported throughout their dual enrollment experience.  We look forward to further expanding dual enrollment avenues in the future.”

One significant driver of the dramatic increase is Motlow’s Dual Enrollment Mechatronics program. Designed for high school juniors, the program allows students to obtain a degree in Mechatronics at no cost while completing their final two years of high school. In May 2020, 11 high school seniors became the first graduates from the Middle College Mechatronics program, funded by a grant awarded to Motlow in 2018.

A second factor in the rising rates of Motlow DE is the early scholarship opportunities it offers. Student who sign up for DE classes are often eligible for several tuition-free courses. DE students are more likely to enroll in college after high school graduation as opposed to taking a ‘gap’ year, or a year off. Studies show that taking a gap year can cost students over $90,000 of their lifetime earning potential.

The 11 Middle College Mechatronics graduates included students from Oakland, Franklin County, and Warren County high schools. Additional high schools with 2020 dual enrollment graduates were Tullahoma, DeKalb County, Cannon County, and F.C. Boyd Christian School in McMinnville.

For more information, visit Motlow State’s website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Motlow Completion Coach Angélica Dotson uses personal experience to encourage students

Angelica Dotson uses her experiences as a Hispanic student in southern, middle Tennessee to encourage other Motlow College students. (Photo Provided)

EDUCATION | Motlow State Completion Coach Angélica Dotson knows what it is like to be treated as an outsider … to feel like you don’t fit in. She draws from and shares her experiences as a second-generation American to improve student success at Motlow. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, she spoke about her experiences and how they help her encourage Motlow students to overcome adversity.

“I grew up in a bicultural home,” said Dotson, who works at Motlow’s Smyrna campus and has been with the college since 2013. “At times, I felt like Americans did not quite accept me because I was too Mexican, and Hispanics did not quite accept me because I was too American. I always felt as if I had to prove myself, and I do my best to use my experiences to help encourage students. You can be brown and be successful.”

Motlow’s Latino student population has almost tripled since 2015. The National Center for Education Statistics says Latino students are one of only two demographic groups that have shown an increase in college attendance in recent years. Motlow is ahead of the national growth and well-positioned to expand its minority student enrollment.

“There was a time when I dropped out of college,” continued Dotson. “I felt that I could not be my true self and be successful in passing college courses or landing a job. Dropping out was a poor decision, but it did lead me to some positive revelations.

“It was around that time that I finally realized that I could not deny being brown, Latino, a minority. Once I accepted that, it unlocked a powerful force inside of me,” she added. “I rediscovered myself and my culture. I found my voice and embraced it. Everything turned around for me as I returned to college and graduated.”

Dotson’s father is from Celaya, Guanajuato, México, and was adopted by an American family when he was three years old. Her mother is from Zacatecas, México, and grew up near the United States’ southern border and immigrated to America for survival and opportunities.

 “I find that my past experiences help encourage students, whether they are a person of color, a non-traditional student, or a traditional student coming to Motlow from high school. I understand that sometimes people expect minorities to fail, and we must work harder than others to succeed. I do my best to encourage all students who are struggling, but I especially try to remind the LatinX community that they can overcome adversity.”

“The number of Hispanic students enrolled in college rose from 3.17 million in 2016 to 3.27 million in 2017, making them only one of two demographic groups that saw an increase in college attendance, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s more than double the 1.4 million Latino students who attended college in 2000,” according to USA Today.

The study showed about 70 percent of Latino undergraduates in higher education come from families in the bottom half of earners, according to data analyzed by the college lobbying group, the American Council on Education. That is comparable to the black population, where nearly 75 percent of students come from the bottom half of earners.

Nearly half of Latino students are the first in their family to go to college, and just under half were eligible for federal Pell Grants, money only given to those with a high financial need. Only 22 percent of Hispanics over the age of 25 have an associate degree or higher compared to 40 percent of the general population.

Motlow actively invests in inclusion training and accessibility planning. These efforts foster a diverse student body and promote cultural literacy among all graduates. Motlow’s goal is to provide the learning opportunities and support programs needed to encourage all residents to pursue a college degree or short-term certificate that leads to high-demand jobs. Dotson’s story is evidence of the importance of academic success. There is no better time to pursue higher education. Motlow offers Reconnect Scholarships for adults without degrees, tutoring, ESL programs, learning support courses, one-on-one advising, and personal college completion coaches. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Board approves Raider wrestling team

Students at Moore County High School will now have another sports option. The Metro School Board approved the addition of a wrestling team on Monday night. (File Photo)

SPORTS | Scholastic wrestling is a character building sports. It requires toughness, dedication, and many former wrestlers say it helped them develop self esteem, work ethic, leadership skills, and sportsmanship.

These are just the types of characteristic MCHS Athletic Director Josh Deal is looking to instill in his student athletes. As such, on Monday night, the Moore County Board of Education approved his request to start a Raider wrestling team. Deal said he started researching a team after being approached by several interested students.

“I’ve put out feelers and had conversations and as of today we have around 20-25 interested wrestlers including five girls,” Deal said.

MCHS Football Coach Kris White and area wrestling coach and MCHS alumni Kevin Pearson would volunteer to coach the wrestlers.

“It’s a great way for athletes who aren’t interested in basketball to gain strength and stay conditioned in the winter,” Pearson added.

The wrestling program would be open to students in grades 8-12 and would begin in November and extend through February. According to Deal in the first year, the wrestler would travel to area matches at schools like Eagleville and Cascade. Unlike group sports, wrestler compete based on weight class and not regions.

The first obstacle for the new team will be fund raising. Deal stated the cost to participate individually for personal equipment would be around $125. To host matches at MCHS, the school system would need to purchase a wrestling mat.

“There are guidelines for the mat,” said Deal. “Right now, the ones I’ve searched are around $9,000.”

Deal also stated at Tullahoma High School had agreed to let the new wrestling team borrow and practice mat until a permanent one could be purchased.

If you are interested in supporting the new sports program with their upstart expenses or have a student interested in wrestling, contact Athletic Director Josh Deal at MCHS at 931-759-4231. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

WIRED: Motlow increases student access to WiFi

Motlow’s Moore County campus expanded student Wi-Fi access to the parking lot on both sides of the Marcum Technology Center. (File Photo)

EDUCATION | The Washington Post reported this month that record numbers of low-income students are dropping out of college due to a lack of access to good Wi-Fi, stating, “As the fall semester gets into full swing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, schools are noticing a concerning trend: Low-income students are the most likely to drop out or not enroll at all, raising fears that they might never get a college degree.”

Motlow State plans to address the trend by increasing their student’s access to free, public Wi-Fi. Motlow’s Moore County campus expanded student Wi-Fi access to the parking lot on both sides of the Marcum Technology Center. Students who do not have access to Wi-Fi are encouraged to come to the campus, remain in their parked car, and use the free Motlow Wi-Fi by signing in with their email username and password.

They also added a physical paperwork drop box on its Moore County’s campus to to drop off paperwork related to admission applications, class registrations, and financial aid. The Dropbox is not available for individual class items such as writing assignments and homework.

Motlow Drop Box
They also added a physical paperwork drop box on its Moore County’s campus to to drop off paperwork related to admission applications, class registrations, and financial aid. (Photo Provided)

“We are thrilled to offer these new avenues for students to communicate with the College and with each other,” said Scott Shasteen, director of communications. “Motlow’s continuous focus on student success is strengthened by these evolving strategies. If one student in our Moore County area drops out because of a lack of internet access, then it is highly unlikely they will ever return to College. We can’t let that happen.”

Some 100,000 fewer high school seniors completed financial aid applications to attend College this year, according to a National College Attainment Network analysis of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data through August. Students from families with incomes under $75,000 are nearly twice as likely to say they “canceled all plans” to take classes this fall as students from families with incomes over $100,000, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey in late August.

At Motlow, we want the story to be different,” said Terri Bryson, vice president of External Affairs.  “Student success is our mission. Every student needs to be a success story. We want to ensure that everyone can access Wi-Fi and can drop documents off at our campuses 24/7.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Metro Board of Education meets on Monday

LOCAL NEWS | The Metro Board of Education will meet on Monday at 6 p.m. in a regular session meeting at the Lynchburg Elementary School Cafeteria. To view the complete agenda, click here.

In new business, the board will discuss a potential Moore County High School wrestling program as well as procedures and rules for displaying signage and displays in the new MCHS Gym. The board will also discuss the 2020 Local Education Agency Compliance Report.

Director of Schools Chad Moorehead will as report on school construction projects and the 2021-22 instructional calendar.

All Metro School Board meetings are open to the general public and may also be attended virtually. To address the board with public comment, click here. For more information, contact the Moore County School Central Office at 931-759-7303. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Flu shots available for Moore County students

Free flu shots will be given at all Moore County School next week – October 13 at MCHS and October 15 at LES. (File Graphic)

LOCAL NEWS — Flu season is right around the corner and most doctors recommend getting your flu vaccine by late October to ensure maximum effectiveness as cases begin to spike in November and continue to increase through February.

The Moore County Health Department will visit all three locals schools to administer free flu shots for anyone who wants them on October 13 and 15. Staff distributed forms to Lynchburg Elementary students on Tuesday, October 6 and to Moore County Middle School and Moore County High School students on Wednesday, October 7. All completed forms must be turned into school officials by Friday, October 9, according to Moore County School Nurse Shea Logan.

Flu shot will be given at MCMS and MCHS on Tuesday, October 13 and at LES on Thursday, October 15. For more information, call the Moore County Schools Central Office at 931-759-7303. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}