Empower Home Page2023-03-21T16:02:15+00:00

Empower Upper Cumberland

Inspiring and equipping families, individuals, and communities to prosper.

of people in the Upper Cumberland live below the poverty line
of children in the Upper Cumberland live below the poverty line
of Upper Cumberland families with children under 18 live below the poverty line


Based on the region-wide mission to lift 1,600 children and their families out of poverty by 2025, Empower Upper Cumberland (Empower UC) 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.


Empower UC has hired 24 Navigators who will enroll and work with eligible families to meet their educational and employment goals. Empower UC works to streamline services that are already available, as well as provide new resources, such as milestone payments for meeting goals, financial support to overcome obstacles, and access to resources in the community. Circles USA focuses on creating opportunities for families to form peer relationships as well as linking them to “allies” in the community that provide connections to help them overcome barriers to success.

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

It is important to note that there is a research component to Empower UC (related to the funding we are receiving). There are two (2) levels of services that families can receive that the system determines following the application process. Not all individuals will be immediately eligible to receive all services outlined above.


  • Low-Income, which means families 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)

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