MTAS Earns USDA Grants

The Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), in collaboration with two fellow University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service (IPS) agencies, will offer two new training and technical assistance programs in 2021 with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA Tennessee State Director Jim Tracy and USDA Area Director for Rural Development Marisol Torres were in Knoxville Tuesday to recognize MTAS for receiving the grant.

MTAS received the Solid Waste Management grant and the Rural Community Development Initiative grant, offered through the USDA, to develop new training and technical assistance programs in 2021.

The USDA Solid Waste Management grant will allow MTAS, in conjunction with the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS), to develop a program aimed at improving pharmaceutical waste disposal systems in low-income rural Tennessee communities. 

When used properly, controlled substances can improve the quality of life for the intended patient. However, prescription drugs are falling into the wrong hands at alarming rates. Tennessee is near the epicenter in opioid mis-use and addiction. Proper pharmaceutical disposal is part of a system that ensures that unused prescription medicines do not inadvertently or intentionally fall into the hands of others. By properly disposing of pharmaceuticals, a community reduces opportunity for theft and opportunity for accidental harm.

The Rural Community Development Initiative grant will allow MTAS, in conjunction with the Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership (NCEL), to develop a rural community leadership program that will provide a training academy and technical assistance program to low-income rural communities in the Appalachian region of Tennessee.

The primary goal of the program is to improve community facilities and promote economic and community development. This program will teach the importance of leadership, innovation, growth and resilience, but more importantly, how they are interconnected with community facility improvements, economic development and community development.

If you have any questions about the programs please contact Chris Shults, MTAS grants and training specialist, at or 865-974-8964.