Department of Human Services Drives Toward Drive To 55

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 | 10:58am

DHS partnered with Families First parents and successfully registered more than 700 Tennessee youth for the Tennessee Promise.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services partnered with Families First parents to register over 700 high school seniors for the Tennessee Promise, a scholarship which will provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee. This accomplishment is a part of DHS’ commitment to a two-generation approach to creating successful pathways toward self-sufficiency. DHS reached out to Families First parents with students in the 12th grade to encourage them to enroll in the program.

“This shift goes beyond working primarily with the Families First adults. This added focus on the Families First youth is reflective of the department’s shift to an intentional two-generation approach to creating cycles of success,” said Dr. Raquel Hatter, DHS Commissioner. “We believe wholeheartedly in the capacity of those we serve. We are optimistic about their future and we know that this focus supports efforts to build strong families, strong communities, and a stronger Tennessee.  A special thank you to the DHS Team and Families First parents for their hard work.”

Families First, the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, is a workforce development and employment program that has a primary focus on gaining self-sufficiency through employment.

The two-generation approach has a specific focus on partnering with parents and children together to support them in realizing a pathway toward self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.

"DHS has been an incredible partner with the Tennessee Promise," said Mike Krause, Executive Director of the Drive to 55. "Ensuring their clients have access not only to benefits available through DHS, but also the educational opportunity of the Tennessee Promise, helps us move closer to the Drive to 55 goal."

By 2025, 55 percent of the jobs available in Tennessee will require a postsecondary credential, and currently only 33 percent of Tennesseans qualify. Gov. Bill Haslam launched his Drive to 55 two years ago to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate.

Registering the youth in the Tennessee Promise was the first step. In the coming months, DHS will continue to partner with these parents and youth to assist them in completing the requirements of the Tennessee Promise.

If you are interested in adding your strength to the department's efforts in creating transformational pathways toward success through a two-generation strategy, please contact us at