Spotlight – September 2023

Answering the region-wide call to lift 1,600 children and their families out of poverty by 2025, Empower Upper Cumberland (Empower UC) was formed and is comprised of key regional partners, including Cookeville Regional Charitable Foundation, Highlands Economic Partnership, Tennessee Tech University, Upper Cumberland Development District, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, Upper Cumberland Local Workforce Development Board, and WCTE Central TN PBS.



Its mission is simple, “Inspiring and equipping families, individuals, and communities to prosper.” And their work has been diligent since its conception in early 2022.



Empower UC has hired 24 “Navigators” to enroll and work with eligible families to meet their educational and employment goals. They also work to streamline services that are already available and provide new resources, such as milestone payments for meeting goals, financial support to overcome obstacles, and access to resources within the community.

Additional services include:

  • Higher Education Planning and FAFSA Assistance
  • Aim High Certification – Soft Skill Development Training
  • Ready to Learn – Parental Engagement Opportunities
  • Career Planning and Budgeting Strategies


  • Families with Low-Income (those living at, or below, the Federal Poverty Level)
  • Families eligible for or receiving Medicaid (TN Care)
  • Families eligible for or receiving public benefits such as Families First or SNAP
  • Families eligible for/receiving assistance for/living in Section 8 Housing or low-rent public housing
  • Families eligible for or receiving National School Lunch Program (free or reduced lunch)
Get started by completing the Empower UC application.
For more information contact Empower UC at 833-EMPWRUC (833-367-9782) or via email