Southwest TN Reconnect Launces to Help Adults Return to College
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause and Jackson Chamber President and CEO Kyle Spurgeon announced the launch of the Southwest Tennessee Reconnect Community in partnership with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and the Jackson Chamber. Southwest Tennessee Reconnect Community is a locally based effort focused on increasing the number of adults with a postsecondary credential. It will provide adults with free advising, career counseling, support, a personalized path to and through college, and connect community partners in larger statewide degree attainment initiatives.
“If we are going to meet the Drive to 55 and fulfill our workforce needs, it’s imperative that we focus on adult degree attainment,” says Krause. “THEC is excited to partner with the Jackson Chamber and Southwest Tennessee Reconnect Community to provide comprehensive support to adult learners in their pursuit of postsecondary education.”
The Southwest Tennessee Reconnect Community is part of a larger statewide effort, Tennessee Reconnect, to encourage adults to return to college to earn a degree or certificate. It was awarded a grant from the THEC last year to fund adult learner outreach and resources. Tennessee Reconnect is part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 Initiative, a statewide effort to increase Tennessee’s education attainment rate from 37 percent to 55 percent by the year 2025. Currently, over 900,000 adults in Tennessee have at least some college credits but have not yet earned a degree.
“Workforce development efforts continue to be the most impactful improvements we can make toward increasing the region’s per capita income,” says Spurgeon. “Educational attainment correlates directly to income and Tennessee Reconnect provides a clear path toward better educational outcomes for many West Tennesseans.”
Reconnectors, Randy Smith who attended school at Jackson State Community College and Matt Grogan who attended Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson spoke to the crowd about their experiences and the importance of acquiring a college degree.
For more information about the services offered to adults considering going back to college, contact Tina Shreeve, director of the Southwest Tennessee Reconnect Community at 731-422-9151 or visit SWTNReconnect.com.