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

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

September 26th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

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

Students walk to class at Cleveland State Community...

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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