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Unilever gives $61,000 for REDI scholarships

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The winners of the REDI scholarships, which are funded by Unilever in Covington and adminstered by the county, gathered at Dyersburg State Community College recently to be honored. More than $61,000 was given out this year. Photo by France Gasquet

On Monday, July 21, the Tipton County recipients of the REDI scholarship were honored at Dyersburg State Community College. 

The scholarship, a fundamental part of the REDI program, was developed specifically to increase the culture of education in West Tennessee. 

REDI, or the Regional Economic Development Initiative, began in March of 2012.

According to REDI, educational culture is transformed by stressing post-secondary education, advising career paths and assisting in college applications and financial aid forms. 

The goal is to create a higher level of educated population and thus a more prosperous workforce and community.

The scholarship is a two-year commitment from the county that provides each student with $600 for both the first and second year. The student must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and perform eight hours of community service after the first year of college. 

According to county executive Jeff Huffman, research has shown that in the next 30 years, 72 percent of new jobs will require an education past high school, whether it be a certificate, an associates degree or a four-year university degree. 

 Currently in Tipton County, 14 percent of adult residents (25 years or older) have a bachelors degree or higher and 19 percent of adult residents have an associates degree or higher. 

That, according to Huffman, is below the state average, which is below the national average. 

REDI was created as an economic initiative for SouthWest Tennessee, striving to improve the quality of the workforce in the area, by increasing the current percentages. 

In the last two years, more than 100 students have received the REDI scholarship, which is more than $61,000 in scholarship dollars  this year. 

There are plans are for an increase in scholarship recipients each year, said Huffman.

REDI is funded by payments from Unilever to Tipton County government and according to Huffman, the corporation is proud to be a part of such a program, as the dollars are reinvested back into the workforce, thus improving the quality in the pool of workers. 

For more information about REDI, go to www.reditn.com.

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