January 26, 2017

Complete Tennessee Announces Spring Hill, Jackson and Knoxville Roundtables

Series of roundtables with regional stakeholders explore local college completion challenges

NASHVILLE, TN – Complete Tennessee today announced three new roundtable events as part of the organization’s statewide listening tour. The roundtables will take place in Spring Hill on February 1, Jackson on February 7, and Knoxville on February 15, 2017.
Complete Tennessee’s listening tour will convene nine regional roundtables over four months in an effort to raise awareness of the state’s troubling trend of low postsecondary attainment and discuss local barriers to higher education. County officials, higher education leaders and other key stakeholders attended the first roundtable, which was held in Union City on January 18, 2017.
Complete Tennessee Executive Director Dr. Kenyatta Lovett said, “The Union City roundtable was truly eye-opening.  Even though the region has a strong high school graduation rate with many students going on to college, leaders expressed shared concerns about ‘brain drain.’ Far too many talented young people are leaving northwest Tennessee to attend postsecondary institutions or pursue jobs in other parts of the state – a unique trend that warrants additional discussion on ways local workforce and education opportunities could be better aligned with the talent pool.
“Our conversation in Union City underscores the need to take a more regional approach to the state’s completion problem – each community faces different challenges that affect students’ ability to earn the postsecondary credentials necessary for in-demand jobs. We look forward to engaging education experts, businesses leaders and elected officials in the southern middle, southwest, and east Tennessee Economic and Community Development regions as we work to gain a more robust understanding of ways we can better support students interested in pursuing higher education.”
The listening tour follows the November release of Complete Tennessee’s inaugural report entitled, “Room to Grow: The State of Higher Education in Tennessee”. The report revealed a number of startling statistics about postsecondary outcomes in Tennessee, including the fact that the majority of the state’s community college students and half of its public university students do not graduate. Read more of the report and its findings here.
While the roundtable events are invitation-only for participants, press are welcome to observe and report on the discussion. Interested media should contact Kaci Murley at kaci@completetennessee.org to register their attendance and obtain additional event details.

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Complete Tennessee is a nonprofit 501(c)3 education advocacy organization focused on increasing postsecondary access and completion in Tennessee. Complete Tennessee’s mission will be advanced through four objectives: enhanced community engagement, improved research and accountability metrics, advanced leadership development, and heightened innovation through shared best practices. To learn more about Complete Tennessee, visit www.completetn.org