The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) is pleased to announce the second round of Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Tennessee Reconnect Community effort. Grant funds will be available to recipients for the establishment of mobile and/or place-based community centers that will serve the needs of Tennessee adults interested in completing a postsecondary credential.
- Why is it important that Tennessee focus on adults completing degrees? Educational attainment rates are below the national average in most Tennessee counties. This presents a problem for workforce quality, which will only increase as new skills become in demand. Currently, only 37.8 percent of Tennessee residents have a postsecondary credential. The goal of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 is to address this gap, bringing the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. Achieving Tennessee’s Drive to 55 relies largely on the recruitment, retention, and completion of adults in higher education. Tennessee Reconnect, the adult-focused efforts of the Drive to 55, works to engage the over 900,000 Tennessee adults over 25 who have some college but have not completed their degree, and the 1.4 million Tennesseans over 25 with only a high school degree. We must do a better job reaching out and supporting adult Tennesseans in their pursuit of training and education beyond high school. The Tennessee Reconnect Community effort is one strategy to help our state do that.
- The Tennessee Reconnect Communities Grant: Tennessee Reconnect Community (TRCs) centers will function as connecting-places; engaging higher education institutions, local employers, local organizations, and adult learners alike. This initiative, based on the national Graduate! Network’s (TGN) proven model for improving outcomes for adult learners, will provide adults with advising, support, a personalized path to and through college, and provide a space to connect the aforementioned stakeholders in larger statewide degree-attainment efforts. THEC will award grants to communities that identify the readiness, commitment and community partnerships to implement this proven model to significantly improve outcomes for their adult learners. Grant recipients will receive intensive technical assistance from THEC and TGN in developing these services, as well as start-up funds for their first year of work.
- Some important dates:
- Informational Webinar: THEC hosted an informational webinar for communities interested in participating in the Tennessee Reconnect Community Grant on March 21 at 2:00 pm Central Standard Time (3:00 pm Eastern Standard Time). The recorded webinar is posted below. The webinar content includes: An overview of the RFP; the process and timeline of the grant competition (THEC); The Graduate! Network model including the Tennessee Reconnect Community process and details about the technical assistance provision (Graduate! Network); Insight into the three existing Tennessee Reconnect Communities which provide community-based services for adult learners. Please see a list of Frequently Asked Questions here.
- Because THEC anticipates that multiple proposals from overlapping service areas may be submitted, THEC will prioritize those applicants who have the greatest impact and service area reach within their proposal. To assess this reach, an initial Letter of Intent to Participate is required to apply. This letter is due no later than 12:00pm Central Standard Time (1:00pm Eastern Standard Time) on March 23, 2016.
- Full proposals are due on April 22, 2016 by 5:00pm Central Standard Time (6:00pm Eastern Standard Time).
Please direct all questions regarding this grant to Jessica Gibson at Jessica.Gibson@tn.gov
- THEC Press Release
- Ready to Reconnect Grantees:
- Austin Peay State University
- Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences
- Chattanooga State Community College
- Cleveland State Community College
- Columbia State Community College
- Dyersburg State Community College
- Lipscomb University
- Middle Tennessee State University
- Roane State Community College
- Southwest Tennessee Community College
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Shelbyville
- University of Memphis
- University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
- Volunteer State Community College
- Walters State Community College