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December 06, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Young American Leaders Program-Nashville secures major funding

The community project developed by the Global Action Platform's 2022 class wins a $1 million award from the National Science Foundation.

A community project developed by the Global Action Platform‘s 2022 class of the Young American Leaders Program-Nashville has received major funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Vanderbilt University.

The project, named the Coalition Responsible for Equitable Skills Training (CREST), is one part of an ongoing regional initiative to build a globally competitive biotech cluster in Middle Tennessee. Workforce skills and talent are critical to the growth of biotech, and CREST both expands a skilled workforce and also closes the opportunity divide by engaging young, diverse urban communities. CREST connects academic institutions, industry, and community youth to create a workforce system and pipeline leading from training to employment, fueled by an accelerated training and certification engine.

The Global Action Platform (GAP) convenes and facilitates the Young American Leaders Program-Nashville in collaboration with the Harvard Business School. Each year, GAP sends a class of cross-sector leaders to Harvard for civic and economic leadership training. The classes then create programs to benefit their communities, based on the relationships and knowledge gained from the program. Members of the 2022 class include:

  • Charleson Bell, Research Professor, Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University and also Director of the Mid-South I-Corps Hub funded by NSF.
  • Bob Higgins, Chairman of the Board, Greater Nashville Chamber of Commerce; President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Barge Design Solutions.
  • Eller Mallchok Kelliher, Chief Investment Officer, Launch Tennessee.
  • Veronica Mallett, President and CEO, MMC Ventures, Meharry Medical College.
  • Ryan Ramkhelawan, Vice President of Venture Development, StartCo.
  • Manisha Shah, Regional Vice President, Behavior Health Services, HCA Healthcare.
  • George Wilson, New Ventures Officer, Economic and New Ventures Development, Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Vanderbilt University.

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