Country Music Network Joins UA-Fort Smith To Promote Higher Education

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- The Country Music Network (CMT) joined University of Arkansas-Fort Smith to bring a free concert to the area through an initiative called Empowering Education.

"Education is so important these days," Country recording artist Courtney Cole said. "We live in a society where having a college degree is really important to getting a job in a lot of cases. It's really important for me to promote furthering education."

The network travels across the country, focusing on inspiring people to further their education, regardless of their situation.

"Seeing people who have gone through this initiative, going to [the website] and figuring out a custom plan and making it work for their time and their schedule, it's awesome," Cole said.

With this national campaign, CMT hopes to make people more comfortable with furthering education, and address the misconceptions of applying for and attending college.

"Once they see someone from their backyard who's been able to do this and transform their life through education, we hope that they're inspired to do the same," head of CMT public affairs Lucia Folk said.

At one event in Kentucky, out-of-work coal miners attended and decided to further their own education.

"They didn't think of themselves as going to school or going back to school," Folk said. "They came to our event, and the following week, all of their career and technical courses were full of coal miners."

UA-Fort Smith Chancellor Paul Beran said it's never too late.

"Regardless of age, education is something that can never be taken from you," Beran said. "You can always add to it."

The Empowering Education Initiative has been traveling throughout the country to colleges and universities for the past two years.

For more information on the campaign, or to create your own academic plan, visit the Country Music Network website.