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College Completion Communities

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June 11, 2018
Bradley County and Meigs County Join “College Completion Communities” Pilot to Help Raise College Graduation Rates
Complete Tennessee initiative encourages local strategies to raise postsecondary attainment

Officials from Bradley County and Meigs County today announced plans to participate in a new pilot program designed to increase local postsecondary 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.
“Meigs County is privileged to be included in this initiative.  We recognize the importance of postsecondary credentials for our citizens and the impact that will have on their lives”, said Bill James, Mayor of Meigs County.  We will strive to do our part in helping to achieve the goals set forth in the Drive to 55 and Complete Tennessee programs and look forward to working with Bradley County and our other partners to increase the number of our residents who complete their degree or credential.” 
The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce has had a strong workforce development program for many years. “We have long recognized the growing need for a skilled and adaptable workforce that can take our community into the twenty-first century”, stated Kevin Moore, Chairman, Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Raising college attainment in our region is critical to our future economic prosperity and quality of life. We are excited to work with Complete Tennessee, our Meigs County partners and our local K-12 public schools, Cleveland State Community College, the TCAT at Athens, Lee University and nearby higher education institutions and the business community on this program.”  
Bradley County will join Meigs County to form one of five College Completion Communities. The full list of pilot communities include the following:
  1. West Tennessee - Lake, Obion, and Weakley counties
  2. West Tennessee - Lauderdale and Tipton counties
  3. Middle Tennessee - Humphreys and Perry counties
  4. East Tennessee - Meigs and Bradley counties
  5. 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.

Complete Tennessee Executive Director Kenyatta Lovett said, “We have seen firsthand that different regions of Tennessee face very distinct challenges that affect higher education completion. 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.
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Gary Farlow
President & CEO
Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce
Email: gfarlow@clevelandchamber.com
(423) 472-6587
Carmen Choate
Secondary Supervisor/Director of College and Career Readiness/Instructional Materials Coordinator
Meigs County Schools
Email:  carmenchoat@meigscounty.net
Phone:  423-334-5797

Gary Farlow, President & CEO
(423) 472-6587

225 Keith St SW
PO Box 2275
Cleveland TN 37320-2275
Phone: 423-472-6587
Fax: 423-472-2019
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

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