published Monday, September 26th, 2011

Chattanooga State, Cleveland State community colleges get AT&T help

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    Students walk to class at Cleveland State Community College in this file photo.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- AT&T is contributing $10,000 to each of Tennessee's community colleges to accelerate students' progress toward certificates and degrees.

Chattanooga State and Cleveland State are among the recipients.

"This may prove to be a more attractive way for corporations to contribute. They would rather deal with one person than have 13 community colleges knocking on their door," said Cleveland State President Carl Hite, who was attending the Tennessee Board of Regents' quarterly meeting at Roane State Community College.

The Board of Regents sets policy for the state universities and colleges not in the University of Tennessee system, including community colleges.

"It is our goal to ensure that students are fully prepared to enter the workforce and that they can find good jobs right here in Tennessee when they graduate," AT&T Regional Director Mary Steward Lewis said in a written statement.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Complete College Tennessee Act last year, said state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville. The act makes possible contributions like the one from AT&T, he said.

"These scholarships show what can happen when the private sector works with our institutions of higher learning to help students graduate," Bell said.

State Reps. Kevin Brooks and Eric Watson, both R-Cleveland, said the scholarships will be good for job creation in the region.

Gary Farlow, president of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, said "college completion is important in helping our state grow and be competitive."

The Tennessee Board of Regents' Office of Academic Affairs developed an accelerated curriculum for college completion to increase graduation rates at community colleges.

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about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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