RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE TENNESSEE PROMISE
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Business Roundtable has long supported education advancements through support, development, and implementation of such reforms as the TN Diploma Project, First to the Top, the Complete College Act of Tennessee, Complete College Academies, and the Common Core State Standards.
WHEREAS, on February 3, 2014 the Honorable Bill Haslam, Governor of Tennessee, proposed a plan which commits to providing on a continuing basis two years of community college or a college of applied technology (TCAT) absolutely free of tuition and fees to graduating high school seniors. This plan is known as the “Tennessee Promise”.
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Promise proposes to finance this tuition by strategically directing a portion of the existing lottery scholarship reserve fund to an endowment for this purpose.
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Promise provides that a student, after graduating from a community college, chooses to attend a four-year school, the state’s transfer pathways program makes it possible for those students to start as a junior. By getting their first two years free, the cost of a four-year degree is reduced by half.
WHEREAS, the Tennessee Promise is part of the “Drive to 55” initiative aimed at increasing the number of Tennesseans with a certificate or degree beyond high school. By 2025 it is estimated that 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree to get a job. Currently only 32 percent of Tennesseans meet that criterion.
WHEREAS, if Tennessee does not have a qualified workforce in the future, jobs will neither be created nor developed in our state. For Tennessee to continue to be the place people and businesses want to locate, live and work we must have a work force capable of filling the jobs that will exist in the future.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Tennessee Business Roundtable endorses the principles and goals of the Tennessee Promise and the Drive to 55 as being in the State’s best interest and strongly encourages the Legislature to pass the necessary legislation needed to implement the Tennessee Promise Initiative.
By adoption of the Board of Directors,
Gary Shorb, President of the Board