Each of the state's 13 community colleges will receive $5,000 to award scholarships to encourage students to participate in programs designed to help students succeed in the classroom and be better prepared to enter the workforce. The programs will target non-traditional and underserved students.
"AT&T's commitment to education is a model we need more companies throughout the state to follow," said Sen. Dolores Gresham, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "AT&T's investment in programs like these with our state's community colleges will strengthen Tennessee's future economy and workforce."
"The relationship between business and education is an important one for job creation in Tennessee," said Rep. Harry Brooks, chairman of the House Education Committee. "Statistics continue to show that the jobs of the future will require some type of secondary education, and helping our students obtain degrees and certificates will lead to more job growth and development for Tennessee."
In January 2010, the Tennessee legislature approved an aggressive set of steps to increase the completion rates of students within the institutions of higher education in the state.
"We are delighted to support Tennessee students who are acquiring the skills they need to enter the workforce," said Joelle Phillips, president of AT&T Tennessee. "Accelerated certificate and degree programs are a great way to ensure our students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate."
The Tennessee Board of Regents' Office of Academic Affairs developed a curriculum for accelerated pathways for college completion. The goal is to increase completion rates at the TBR community colleges. TBR created programs of study that encourage and allow students with work and family obligations to enroll on a full-time basis, devoting 20 to 30 hours a week, including online education. Students now have the option to complete required coursework for an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees within three semesters.
Students in these new programs would benefit from scholarships that would enable them to participate fully in the four to five-hour morning, evening or weekend blocks of time required to complete an accelerated certificate or degree program. The proposed AT&T Completion Scholarship program ($5,000 to each of the 13 Tennessee Board of Regents' community colleges) would allow the institutions to award financial support to students enrolled in these programs and increase completion and entry into the workforce in Tennessee.
13 Tennessee Board of Regents' community colleges include:
Chattanooga State Community College – Chattanooga, TN
Cleveland State Community College – Cleveland, TN
Columbia State Community College – Columbia, TN
Dyersburg State Community College – Dyersburg, TN
Jackson State Community College – Jackson, TN
Motlow State Community College – Lynchburg, TN
Nashville State Community College – Nashville, TN
Northeast State Community College – Blountville, TN
Pellissippi State Community College – Knoxville, TN
Roane State Community College – Harriman, TN
Southwest Tennessee Community College – Memphis, TN
Volunteer State Community College – Gallatin, TN
Walters State Community College – Morristown, TN
Tennessee's Community Colleges
Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering high-quality, affordable education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. The colleges offer associates degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, visit tncommunitycolleges.org.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we've passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.
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SOURCE AT&T Inc.