June 12, 2018

Citizen Tribune: Program to help Hamblen residents pursue college

Hamblen County has announced plans to participate in a new pilot program designed to increase local post-secondary attainment.

Launched by Complete Tennessee, a nonprofit higher education advocacy organization, the “College Completion Communities” initiative encourages local stakeholders to develop targeted strategies to help more students access and complete postsecondary programs in their region.

“Raising college attainment in our community is critical to the future economic prosperity and to the quality of life in Hamblen County,” said Tish Jones, Complete Tennessee steering committee member. “We are excited to work with other committed partners to create meaningful plans to help more students in our region access and complete a college degree or credential program.”

Hamblen County will join Greene and Washington counties to form one of five College Completion Communities. The full list of pilot communities includes:

• West Tennessee: Lake, Obion and Weakley counties

• West Tennessee: Lauderdale and Tipton counties

• Middle Tennessee: Humphreys and Perry counties

• East Tennessee: Meigs and Bradley counties

• East Tennessee: Hamblen, Greene and Washington counties

Each of the five pilot communities will convene a group of advisors, known as a “Completion Council,” who will build a three-year Completion Plan of Action designed to address the greatest challenges to postsecondary achievement in their region.

The Completion Council will include educators, chamber of commerce members, business and community leaders, and elected officials.

“We have seen firsthand that different regions of Tennessee face very distinct challenges that affect higher education completion,” said Kenyatta Lovett, executive director of Complete Tennessee. “Students in one part of the state may struggle with a lack of educational programming, while another area may need support programs to help ease the transition from high school to postsecondary programming. The College Completion Communities initiative will develop localized solutions to address regional attainment and completion issues, and we look forward to coordinating with the Completion Councils to develop their plans of action in the months ahead.”

Later this year, the College Completion Communities will come to Nashville to share their Completion Plans of Action with state officials and higher education leaders. Plans will be made publicly available at that time through the Complete Tennessee website.

For more information on the College Completion Communities initiative, visit Complete Tennessee’s website at www.completetennessee.org.