Gov. Bill Haslam will conclude his summer series of post-secondary education discussions Thursday afternoon, hosting a conversation with local education and business leaders at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
It is the governor's seventh discussion this summer regarding the best ways to match the skills and education of college students with the needs of employers across the state. Along with highlighting the approaches and collaborations between education institutions and businesses that are working in communities, the discussion will also cover areas in need of improvement.
According to the governor's office, only 23 percent of Tennesseans hold a degree from a four-year institution. In a news release, Haslam said he hoped that focusing on post-secondary education would help prime the state to become a national leader in preparing students for the local and regional job markets that they'll meet upon graduating.
"If we are going to be a state that attracts companies to locate and grow here, a state that keeps its best and brightest graduates here with good-paying, high-quality jobs, there is nothing more important we can do than to focus on education," Haslam said. "There is a lot of consensus around K-12 education record efforts, and I think we have the opportunity to become a national model in approaching post-secondary education as well."
The governor's previous six discussions took place in Blountville, Cookeville, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. Haslam's visit to Chattanooga comes on the heels of his announcement of the appointment of four Hamilton County residents to higher education boards.
On Tuesday, the governor announced Vicky Gregg, CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc., would represent the 3rd Congressional District on the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees. Joining her on the UT board as a nonvoting faculty trustee will be Victoria Steinberg, an associate professor of French at UTC.
The governor also announced the appointment of Shalin Shah, a 2009 graduate of the Chattanooga School of Arts and Sciences and a current student at UTC, as the nonvoting student trustee on the UT Board of Trustees.
Ashley Humphrey, a 2009 graduate of Soddy-Daisy High School and a current student at Tennessee Technological University, was appointed by Haslam to represent students on the Tennessee Board of Regents.