Lt. Gov. McNally, Sen. Yager secure $72 million for Oak Ridge Innovation Institute

(NASHVILLE, TN), May 3, 2022 — Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) announce the appropriation of $72 million in the FY 22-23 state budget for the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute in Oak Ridge. The institute was established in 2019 and is set to expand into one of the nation’s top research and education centers with this appropriation.

An initiative of the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the institute is launching in response to America’s need for a stronger pipeline of STEM talent. UT-ORII will attract and produce top engineers, researchers and innovators to meet the emerging challenges facing the nation and the world.

“I am tremendously grateful to see the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute fully funded and ahead of schedule. This institute will be a beacon for STEM talent, discovery, education and innovation,” said McNally. “The Oak Ridge technology corridor will only expand and increase its reputation and reach once this vision is fully realized. I would like to thank the University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Governor Lee for making this a truly transformational institution for the benefit of Tennessee.”

The institute will train more Tennesseans for high-paying jobs in manufacturing, energy and data science, and it will become a national model for collaborative research, interdisciplinary education and workforce development.

“The Oak Ridge Innovation Institute is leading the way in making Tennessee a STEM hub and is elevating UT-Knoxville to one of the nation’s leading research facilities,” said Yager. “The institute will also be a regional economic driver. This is a transformative investment for the Oak Ridge Corridor that will help advance our state and country for generations to come.”

UT-ORII will prioritize three main focus areas: research, education and workforce development. The institute will recruit the best and brightest researchers from across the country; it will form partnerships to advance research throughout university campuses, private industry and government; and it will fund joint research opportunities.

The General Assembly made an initial appropriation of $8 million for the institute last year. The combined $80 million will complete the state’s investment to fully establish the institute eight years ahead of schedule.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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