Gov. Haslam encourages more Tennesseans to choose higher education

Friday, September 6, 2013

Gov. Bill Haslam sought to build support for his push to get more Tennesseans to continue their education past high school with an event Wednesday at Music City Center.

The Tennessee Republican told about 300 business, political and education leaders that the state needs to lift the portion of residents with a college degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025 to stay competitive economically. That will mean adding about 494,000 college or technical school graduates over the next 13 years.

In an event that was one part status update and one part sales pitch, Haslam attempted to lay out the rationale for his higher education goals, an initiative he calls the "Drive to 55."

The governor announced the creation of a new website Wednesday but no new policies. Instead, he used the 90-minute presentation to "build awareness" for the programs he's launched since he first mentioned Drive to 55 in his State of the State address eight months ago.

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