CMT AND COUNTRY STAR DUSTIN LYNCH WANT FANS TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN NEW “CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION” PARTNERSHIP

09/04/14

CMT and Lynch Ask Fans to Support through Social Media ‘Thunderclap’

TWEET IT: .@CMT and @dustinlynch want fans to #TakeTheFirstStep and go back to school. Pledge your voice for education: http://thndr.it/1tTGZh1.

NASHVILLE – September 4, 2014 – There are 4.7 million jobs open right now in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of which remain unfilled due to a lack of skilled applicants. CMT and country music star Dustin Lynch are teaming up to encourage Americans in some of the most economically-depressed areas to go back to school as part of the cable network’s CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION initiative. With Lynch as the official spokesperson, the campaign highlights the important role community colleges play in providing affordable, relevant education and training aligned with the workforce needs in rural America.

CMT and Lynch are asking fans to pledge their commitment to education on social media using Thunderclap, an online crowdsourcing tool. If 500 people sign up to support CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION by September 18, Thunderclap will blast a concerted message of support across social media worldwide. As an incentive to participate in the Thunderclap, CMT and Lynch will award 10 participants with personalized gift packages, as well as one grand prize package for a VIP trip to the 2015 CMT MUSIC AWARDS in Nashville, Tenn. Fans can visit http://thndr.it/1tTGZh1 to raise their voice for education now.

“Education has always been important to me and to my family. In fact, I made a promise to my family that I would graduate from college before pursuing a career in music,” says Lynch. “I’m proud to be working with CMT’s Empowering Education campaign to help others find their path to higher education and to new careers.”

“We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential with education beyond high school,” added Lucia Folk, Vice President of Public Affairs, CMT. “We’ve seen the skills gap first-hand in rural areas like Hazard, Kentucky, where coal miners are finding new careers in health care and other industries. With the aid of Dustin and the American Association of Community Colleges, we want to help our viewers narrow the gap and improve their quality of life.”

CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION announced a three-year partnership at the Clinton Global Initiative America earlier this year, aiming to raise visibility for education and rural workforce struggles. In partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, the pilot year activities will focus on recruitment and retention efforts with 14 community colleges in some of the most distressed regions of the United States. CMT will support local efforts by highlighting student success stories, combatting perceived challenges, and providing customized toolkits for marketing efforts featuring Lynch. For a full list of participating colleges, click here.

CMT will leverage its national television and digital media partners to support the initiative with PSA’s that challenge viewers to go back to school. The network will also highlight it across CMT properties including CMT HOT 20 COUNTDOWN, CMT RADIO NETWORKS and more than 12 million followers across social media.

CMT Empowering Education launched in 2012 to encourage viewers, no matter their age, to enroll or re-enroll in school to reach their full potential. CMTEMPOWERINGEDUCATION.com offers crucial information and resources for prospective students, including tips for how to finance their education, a timeline for applying to school and access to a multitude of scholarship resources. By answering a few simple questions, users receive a customized action plan for completing school in a way that fits their individual needs and lifestyle.

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About Dustin Lynch:
Broken Bow Records artist Dustin Lynch occupies a unique place in today’s country music. Thanks to his classic sensibilities, he’s been heralded as the heir to George Strait’s throne. Yet with one listen to his newest hit, “Where It’s At,” it’s obvious the young Tennessee native knows how to combine his traditional influences with an edgy intensity that places him at the vanguard of today’s contemporary country scene.

Since the release of his hit, “Cowboys and Angels,” Lynch has sold over one million copies of his debut single and has surpassed 16.5 million views on YouTube/ VEVO. Lynch’s weekly Facebook engagement surpasses FIVE MILLION uniques andhis Twitter has grown by 184% in the past year. He’s soared to #1 on the MTV Music Meter, earned a #1 ringtone on CMT, a Top 5 on the Billboard Heatseekers Songs Chart, a #2 Country radio single, two American Country Award nominations and a CMT Music Award nomination. “Cowboys and Angels” was one of Billboard’s Top 5 Country Songs of 2012. The editors of Rolling Stone lauded Lynch as one of “Nashville’s New Hit Makers” in 2013 Best of Rock Issue. ELLE magazine named him a “Best New Country Music Artist of 2013” while People Country proclaimed Lynch one of its “2014 Sexiest Men of Country” in a two-page center spread as well as a “2013 Hot Guys” in its annual issue. Rolling Stone recently named Lynch one of “The Best Things We Saw at CMA Music Fest 2014.” The only new male artist to earn a #1 debut album on the 2012 Country charts, Lynch further cemented his next-big-thing status with the double-entendre laden barnstormer “She Cranks My Tractor” and light-hearted “Wild In Your Smile.”

Lynch’s lead single “Where It’s At” from the upcoming Sept. 9 album WHERE IT’S AT is a Top 5 Country Radio hit and has been certified GOLD by the RIAA. For more information on Dustin Lynch, visit: www.dustinlynchmusic.com


About CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION:
CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION is a comprehensive educational campaign that provides an online resource, www.CMTEmpoweringEducation.com, to aid CMT viewers in overcoming the most commonly perceived obstacles to furthering education. The site aggregates the multitude of existing quality information in one easy-to-navigate central location, and creates an individualized education action plan for each user.

CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION is founded on the same education research and insights that led to the creation of Get Schooled, a non-profit organization dedicated to using media, technology and popular culture to improve attendance. Get Schooled was formed through a partnership between Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Advising partners for the CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION campaign include Achieving the Dream, the Association of Career and Technical Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Workforce and Economic Development at the American Association of Community Colleges, National Skills Coalition and Skills for America's Future (the Aspen Institute).


About American Association of Community Colleges
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for 13 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.

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PRESS CONTACTS:
Amanda Murphy (CMT)         615-335-8408         amanda.murphy@cmt.com
Heather Allison   (CMT)         615-335-8418         heather.allison@cmt.com
Natalie Kilgore (Dustin Lynch)      615-610-2096         natalie@BBRMusicGroup.com


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