Gov. Haslam announces initiative to encourage adults to return to college

JACKSON, Tenn. — Going back to college might be getting a little easier for those who never thought it was possible.

Governor Bill Haslam made a stop in the Hub City announcing the launch of Southwest Tennessee Reconnect.

The program is part of a larger statewide initiative encouraging adults to go back to school.

It allows every Tennessee resident to attend technical school or college without paying tuition.

“In today’s world, we know a lot of jobs require training beyond high school than they used to,” Gov. Haslam said.

“For those folks that feel like they didn’t have all the opportunity they’d like to in life, this is a chance to go to school for free.”

The plan will provide adults with free advising, career counseling and support throughout their time as a student.

Gov. Haslam said it will also help improve the state’s workforce.

“To do that, we need to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to compete in today’s world, and that’s what ‘Reconnect’ is all about,” Haslam said.

President of the Jackson Chamber, Kyle Spurgeon said they partnered with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to make it happen.

“Any place we can touch someone who is in need of an opportunity to go back to school, that’s where we want to be,” Spurgeon said.

With the plan in place, current adult students are encouraging future ones to take that leap of faith.

“You’re the only one that holds yourself back,” TCAT student Matt Gorgan said. “If you want to go, the opportunity is there.”

The program is part of Governor Haslam’s “Drive for 55” initiative, a statewide effort to increase the education attainment rate from 37 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

Those with the chamber say applications for potential adult students will open February 15.

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