Darby Secures $18 Million for UTM Test Hub


State Rep. Tandy Darby

NASHVILLE (May 19) — State Rep. Tandy Darby, R-Greenfield, secured $18 million in state funding for the University of Tennessee at Martin in the 112th General Assembly. The funds will be used for the construction and establishment of the Tennessee Entrepreneurial Science and Technology (TEST) Hub on the college’s campus.

The 50,000-square-foot facility is a joint effort among the University of Tennessee at Martin, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and Dyersburg State Community College. It is aimed at supporting and expanding economic and workforce development in rural Northwest Tennessee through the facilitation of innovative partnerships between industry and educational institutions.

“The availability of a dynamic, skilled workforce is key to helping bring new businesses and jobs to our state,” Darby said. “The TEST Hub at U.T. Martin represents another significant investment Tennessee is making to improve education and ensure that students have the best opportunities for prosperous futures here at home. I appreciate my colleagues in the General Assembly for approving this important funding and look forward to the positive impact it will have for economic and workforce development in West Tennessee.”

The TEST Hub is expected to open in early 2025 and will be located less than 85 miles from a massive new automobile and battery production facility planned in Haywood County. Ford Motor Co. and SK Innovations announced plans to build the state-of-the-art facility on a 3,600-acre campus called Blue Oval City last fall. The $5.6 billion project is the single-largest economic development investment in the state’s history and will create 5,800 new jobs in West Tennessee.

The $18 million in appropriated state funds are part of a $52.8 billion balanced budget passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in April. Republican priorities included making significant investments in education, public safety, health care, infrastructure and economic development while also providing $300 million in tax cuts for Tennesseans.

Tandy Darby represents House District 76, which includes Weakley and part of Obion and Carroll counties. He is vice chairman of the Calendar and Rules Committee and also serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees, Education Administration Committee and Higher Education Subcommittee. He can be reached at rep.tandy.darby@capitol.tn.gov or by calling 615-741-7847.