Recognizes Similar Programs Across the State, Praises Locally Grown Efforts
KNOXVILLE – Republican gubernatorial candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam today highlighted the work of “knoxAchieves,” a last-dollar scholarship program in Knox County that he has helped lead since its inception in 2008.
Mayor Haslam praised the work of knoxAchieves and similar locally-driven programs across the state that have increased access to community college for many Tennessee students. This year knoxAchieves will provide an opportunity for 500 graduates of Knox County public schools to receive scholarships of up to $3,000 to attend area community colleges.
“The knoxAchieves model is unique in that it is volunteer-driven,” Haslam said. “It’s completely privately funded, and it relies on volunteers from the community to serve as mentors and counselors to students. Scholarship recipients also give back to the community by volunteering a certain amount of time each semester.”
“I’m proud of the work of knoxAchieves and its focus on first generation college students,” Haslam continued. “Not only does this program provide unique opportunities to students who otherwise may not have gone to college, but it benefits the entire community in a number of ways. If we’re going to bring more and better jobs to Tennessee, we’ve got increase the level of educational attainment across the state.”
Mayor Haslam conducted a three-week, statewide Jobs Tour in March, and the concern expressed most often by small business owners was the shortage of properly trained and educated workers. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that in coming years 90 percent of jobs in high-growth industries will require at least some postsecondary education or training. In an effort to address that challenge, Mayor Haslam has been traveling the state assessing workforce development strengths and weaknesses, and most recently, discussing the status of our K-12 education system.
“If you look across the state, there are similar locally grown scholarship programs that are increasing access and helping develop the local workforce,” said Haslam.
“From the regional effort of Southwest Tennessee Educational Pathways, to the award-winning Educate & Grow, a public/private partnership in Northeast Tennessee, to Shelby County’s STEP program and the Ayers Foundation Scholars in Decatur County, communities and regions across Tennessee are finding innovative ways to improve college access,” Haslam said.
“These efforts will be critical to our effort to make Tennessee the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Haslam continued. “That’s why I’d like to see these best practices shared with communities looking to find their own unique solutions for increased educational attainment and improved workforce development.”
Bill Haslam is the two-term Mayor of Knoxville, re-elected in 2007 with 87% of the vote. A hardworking, conservative public servant, he led Knoxville to become one of the top ten metropolitan areas for business and expansion, while reducing the city’s debt, tripling the rainy day fund, and bringing property taxes to the lowest rate in 50 years. An executive leader with a proven record of success, he helped grow his family’s small business from 800 employees into one of Tennessee’s largest companies with 14,000 employees. His combination of executive and public service experience makes him uniquely qualified to be Tennessee’s next Governor. Haslam is the right person at the right time to lead Tennessee.
Bill and Crissy Haslam have two daughters, Annie and Leigh, and a son, Will, who resides in Knoxville with his wife, Hannah.
For more information on Bill Haslam, please visit www.BillHaslam.com.