Forest City (IA) – Rural Development Partners and AriensCo (Fayetteville, TN) awarded a matching funds grant of $150,000 to spur workforce development initiatives in Lincoln County, Tennessee. This grant was given as part of Rural Development Partner’s “Community Investment Program” in which RDP makes an equal private investment alongside our NMTC partner to encourage workforce development in the regions we serve.
“We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities that will be provided to students in and around the Fayetteville area that will arise from both the Mobile Stem Lab and the new Welding Program. Bringing jobs to a community is always a huge priority for us, but many times the communities that we invest in have additional needs that our Community Investment Program can help address.” – Dan Helgeson, CEO of Rural Development Partners
The educational community recognized the need for a robust welding program that meets local industry demand while giving Lincoln County students the best opportunity for a high-earning career after high school. Lincoln County High School (LCHS) offers a welding program, but has limited space for student participation; Fayetteville High School (FHS) lacks space for a welding lab on campus. With the nearest TCAT welding lab approximately 30 miles from the high schools, AriensCo who is located next door to FHS and within 2.5 miles from LCHS, donated approximately 6,000 SF of space for a TCAT welding lab within their facility.
$70,000 of the RDP/Ariens grant will fund renovations to accommodate the local TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology; Shelbyville) welding lab. The lab will house 20 welding stations, a classroom, instructors office, storage space, parking, lounge, and infrastructure. This dedicated community has taken additional steps to stabilize the program long-term… FHS will fund the equipment and instructor salary for one year, an Innovative School Models Grant will fund the consumables, and TCAT Shelbyville will vet the instructor, provide curriculum, institutional support, and sustain the funding after the first year. Remaining grant funds will provide tool scholarships for dual enrolled students taking the program.
“Investing in the next generation as a company is something AriensCo strives to achieve. We hope the Weld School program for TCAT will help draw interest for future generations of welders and the excitement that career path can bring for them. I would like to thank the TCAT for allowing us this opportunity to assist in this great program and be a part of an exciting outlet for future welders.” – Andy Popp, Director of Ariens Fayetteville Operation
Mobile STEM Lab
$80,000 will help provide a second mobile STEM lab for Lincoln County Schools, designed to enrich the learning experience of Kindergarten through 8th grade students. The unit will feature virtual reality programs and 3D printers that enhance knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Lincoln County Schools Transportation Department donated the bus, RDP/Ariens grant funding will cover renovation costs and equipment, and LCS high school students will develop knowledge and skills as they work alongside staff to renovate the mobile unit under the direction of a qualified instructor. The STEM lab will be showcased the Fall of 2024 at K-8 feeder schools and outdoor events including football games and the Lincoln County Fair.
“The Ariens Company, a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment, recently opened a manufacturing facility in Fayetteville, and we are proud to support the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM program at Lincoln County High School. “Ariens Co. and Rural Development Partners have committed to helping fund the remodel of a school bus into a mobile STEM lab to help provide area students with career exposure to in-demand high-wage, high-skill careers.” – Andy Popp, Director of Ariens Fayetteville Operation
Based in Brillion, Wisconsin, AriensCo is a privately owned manufacturer of outdoor power equipment for both consumer and commercial markets. Established in 1933, the company manufactures equipment under the Ariens®, Gravely®, RapidCare, Countax®, Westwood® and AS-Motor® brand names. It also established AriensCo Hospitality in 2020 with two luxury event venues, Stone Prairie and Round Lake Farms. It added the Ariens Nordic Center December 2022. AriensCo expansion to Tennessee is in response to a sharp increase in demand that has outpaced the company’s current production in rural Wisconsin. The Fayetteville (TN) facility serves as AriensCo hub for its Gravely brand of commercial outdoor power equipment.
Rural Development Partners
Rural Development Partners (RDP) utilizes the NMTC Program to help organizations throughout the nation relocate and expand operations to underserved rural communities. RDP investments help create jobs, economic growth, training opportunities, and food security for rural America by partnering with organizations that take action to invest in and support their local communities. Learn more about Rural Development Partners or the NMTC program by visiting our website or social media platforms at FaceBook, LinkedIn, or YouTube.