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Billionaire tech mogul and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, left, smiles on stage in the auditorium at The Howard School during their awards day program on Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently blogged about his visit to Chattanooga and two Hamilton County schools this summer.

On May 23, Gates surprised students on the last day of school at The Howard School and visited the apprenticeship program at Gestamp, one of Chattanooga's leading manufacturers.

Launched in 2016, the apprenticeship program gives Hamilton County students hands-on experience and a job while finishing their high school degrees.

"Apprenticeship programs like this are a win-win both for the school system and for the local business community," Gates writes in his blog post. "What was exciting to see is how the experience working for Gestamp often gave students a new sense of purpose. This might be the program's greatest achievement."

Gates also writes about his visit with faculty and students at The Howard School, and some of the school's achievements since 2019 Tennessee Principal of the Year LeAndrea Ware took over leadership of the school.

"What I experienced that was so inspiring is a community that's come together to help turn around their school's fortunes," Gates wrote about Howard.

Gates' visit to Chattanooga was part of ongoing work by the Gates Foundation in partnership with the Public Education Foundation to invest in workforce development and help communities prepare students for life after high school.

He also met with lawmakers and business leaders in Nashville during his trip to Tennessee in May. 

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of Gates and wife Melinda Gates' empire and has given more than $750,000 in recent years to education initiatives in the Chattanooga area.

Check out Gates' blog posts here and here

Contact Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum. 

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