Eastman's Emphasis on Connecting Students to Real World Experiences Highlighted at TN Governor Haslam’s Summit

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Eastman's Emphasis on Connecting Students to Real World Experiences Highlighted at TN Governor Haslam’s Summit

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Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 8:45am

CAMPAIGN: Eastman Corporate Responsibility

CONTENT: Press Release

NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 24, 2015 /3BL Media/ - Introducing students to real-world experience in high school and improving assistance for students transitioning from two- to four-year colleges were among the suggestions business and education leaders offered to Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday as they gave him feedback on his program to improve graduation rates in Tennessee.

Launched two years ago, Haslam’s “Drive to 55” initiative aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a degree or certificate beyond high school from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025. He hopes doing so will help improve students’ overall job qualifications and attract employers to the state.

“There’s a lot of reason for optimism and encouragement,” Haslam said at the end of the roundtable discussion. “Our task is to take this back and see if there are specific things that we can do differently.”

One of the programs Haslam created to reach his goal is Tennessee Promise, which offers eligible high school seniors free tuition to a two-year community or technical college. Out of 58,000 applicants, 15,800 students have enrolled in the program.

Those who get a two-year degree have the option of transferring to a four-year college.

Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover said she believes Tennessee Promise “will enhance the lives of many students,” but said she’d like to see better assistance for students who decide to make the transition to a four-year school.

“We talk about momentum that has been gained and probably will continue for the next two years; we want to make sure we continue that through the four-year process,” Glover said. “We’d like to see some enhancement in that area, as they plan for the two years when they graduate from community colleges.”

David Golden, senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary for Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tennessee, suggested finding ways to connect with students before they leave high school.

He said the company took a group of 9th-, 10th- and 11th-graders to the Ocean and Climate Change Institute and “exposed them to the real world application of physics,” which he said seemed to motivate them.

“When you link the real world to kids in middle school and high school, they get excited,” Golden said. “They can see relevance to what they do; they can see the pathway from what they’re learning, to helping to better the plant.”

Tennessee Promise Executive Director Mike Krause agreed.

“Connecting students early on with real world experience just helps them see ‘I do need to go to college,’” he said.


Chrissy Idlette
+1 (423) 229-4187
Public Affairs
Keywords: Education | Community | Drive to 55 | Eastman Chemical | Engagement | Graduation | Teen Action | Tennessee Promise | Volunteerism & Community Engagement

CAMPAIGN: Eastman Corporate Responsibility

CONTENT: Press Release