February 22, 2017

Complete Tennessee Listening Tour Expands to Cookeville, Greeneville and Chattanooga

Series of roundtables with regional stakeholders explore local college completion challenges

NASHVILLE, TN – Complete Tennessee today announced the next three roundtable events in the organization’s statewide listening tour. The roundtables will take place in Cookeville on March 1, Greeneville on March 8, and Chattanooga on March 29, 2017.

Complete Tennessee’s listening tour will convene nine regional roundtables over four months to raise awareness of the state’s low postsecondary attainment and discuss local barriers to higher education. County officials, higher education experts and business leaders attended previous roundtables held in Union City, Spring Hill, Jackson and Knoxville in January and February.

Complete Tennessee Executive Director Dr. Kenyatta Lovett said, “Our mission at Complete Tennessee is to help communities better understand and embrace our statewide goal of improving higher education graduation rates. Part of that effort requires bringing key stakeholders in education, business and community together to examine why some students in their counties are unable to graduate.

“Each roundtable we’ve convened has shed new light on the unique challenges current and prospective higher education students face in different regions Tennessee. In Spring Hill, we explored how institutional partnerships can improve education access and options, especially in rural communities where students struggle with a lack of public transportation.  In Jackson, we discussed the need for a stronger focus on career education and advising to help students better understand the credentials needed to secure a good job in the local workforce. And in Knoxville, we examined the discrepancy in student outcomes in the region, which has some of the best and worst postsecondary attainment levels in the state.”

Dr. Lovett continued, “We all share the goal of helping more Tennesseans earn the skills and credentials necessary to compete for in-demand jobs and a better quality of life. As we embark upon the next leg of the listening tour, we hope to foster more robust conversations on ways communities across Tennessee can collaborate, innovate and implement local solutions that will help raise student achievement and promote greater postsecondary success.”

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