CMT and Louisiana’s own country star Courtney Cole will soon rule the road in the first-ever statewide “Empowering Education” tour. CMT revealed dates for a series of eight free concerts, which officially kick off at 6:30 p.m. today at Bossier Parish Community College.

The “CMT Empowering Education Tour of Louisiana” is hosted in partnership with local education and nonprofit groups Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges System (LCTCS) and Louisiana Calling. The tour was first announced last fall, and is part of a larger initiative that seeks to bring awareness to educational opportunities and increase the number of work-ready residents in the state.

A Louisiana native, singer/songwriter Cole delivers a spirited live show with authentic lyrics and a hint of her New Orleans roots. She has opened for the biggest names in country music like Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and Thomas Rhett, and was named an artist to watch by Spotify and Huffington Post. She’s a vocal supporter of education, and has been named one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country.”

Cole amassed thousands of streams for her poignant and self-produced documentary, aptly titled “The Rockumentary,” which chronicles the ups and downs of her path to super-stardom. Additionally, her EP “For the Love of Me” is available via digital retailers. For more about Cole, visit CourtneyColeMusic.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“There’s nothing I love more than being on the road, so to do it in my home state for education is truly incredible,” she said. “If I can inspire just one person to follow their heart and make their world better, then we’ve accomplished what we came here to do.”

Tickets for select dates are FREE and available to general public, and can be reserved beginning today via LCTCS.edu.

The “CMT Empowering Education Tour of Louisiana” serves as an opportunity to build awareness of educational and workforce training opportunities available at the local level, particularly in rural communities. Each of the selected schools submitted a formal application outlining workforce goals specific to their community. Schools were chosen based on demonstrated need and the potential for how this partnership could make a positive impact in their community. Schools not selected for the tour will still receive support as part of the campaign, including customized co-branded marketing and promotional materials for use on radio, TV, online and in print.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana has unprecedented demand for skilled workers throughout the state, and these positions often require training or education beyond a high school diploma. Earlier this year, CMT, LCTCS and Louisiana Calling committed to work alongside community and technical colleges in a statewide campaign to connect Louisianans with the many available opportunities for workforce training and education in their own communities.

CMT’s Empowering Education community college initiative, the channel’s grassroots education campaign, was first announced in 2014 at the Clinton Global Initiative-America meeting. Working in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the campaign experienced early success as 10 pilot partner schools hosted local events, bringing star-power and helping put a face on education by highlighting success stories of students. Since 2014, the campaign has worked with 29 colleges in some of the nation’s most economically-depressed regions to highlight the importance of earning a degree or certificate.