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JUL 2015

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S I T E S E L E C T I O N J U LY 2 015 113 Promise Keepers Tennessee gets creative in aligning workforce development and higher education. T E N N E S S E E T he ink is barely dry on one expansion announcement before the staf of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development (TDECD) is writing another. Job creation numbers are well into the thousands in the frst six months of 2015 alone. "Te exciting thing is that we keep track and our pipeline has over 40,000 jobs in it right now," says Randy Boyd, commissioner of TDECD. "Tat's over 30 percent bigger than it's ever been before. Tere's a lot of positive momentum. I was kidding with the team the other day that there's so many darn job announcements that we don't have any time to get work done." It's a challenge Boyd happily accepts, especially since he's confdent that the state will have more than enough qualifed workers to fll those jobs. An innovative statewide program, Tennessee Promise (TN Promise), ofers qualifying high school graduates the opportunity to attend two years at a community or technical college at no charge — no tuition, no fees. President Obama was so impressed by the program that he created a similar proposal for the entire nation. Creating an Avalanche of Skilled Workers TN Promise was proposed and endowed with $350 million from a lottery fund in 2014. It's considered a "last dollar" scholarship. Students have to fll out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to claim all the state and federal money available to them. Whatever fees are yet to be paid, the state T b y P A T T Y R A S M U S S E N p a t t y . r a s m u s s e n @ s i t e s e l e c t i o n . c o m Nissan North America is building a $160-million supplier park expected to support 1,000 new jobs near its plant in Smyrna, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

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