COOKEVILLE – The Upper Cumberland Tennessee Reconnect Community will host a kick-off event to promote adult learner resources and services from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, March 19, at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus.
The launch event, one of several scheduled to be held throughout the UC, will provide adults interested in returning to college the opportunity to interact with UCTRC advisors and higher education representatives, attend short seminars centered on workforce and college preparation, and learn the next steps in the re-enrollment process.
“We are excited to launch the UCTRC and invite adults from Putnam and the surrounding counties in the Upper Cumberland to join us,” Cindy Taylor, UCTRC director, said. “We are here to help adults interested in returning to finish college or adults ready to turbocharge their career by changing their college focus to take advantage of this one-stop-shop opportunity.”
The launch, which will be held at CHEC, 1000 Neal St., Cookeville, will bring together higher education representatives from all over the region: Nashville State Community College, Tennessee Tech University, Tennessee Centers of Applied Technology, and Volunteer State Community College.
The UCTRC is one of three Tennessee communities established through a statewide initiative to create a network of advisors for adult learners who are interested in completing a postsecondary education credential. Employing a director, Taylor, and three advisors, Teri Anderson, Karen Fesler and Jenny Partin, the UCTRC will provide virtual and real connecting places throughout the region for adult learners 25-64 years old to receive advising, support and personalized path to and through college. Connections to local employers and higher education institutions will be included.
“The Upper Cumberland Tennessee Reconnect Community will play a significant role in bolstering our workforce by helping adults in our community overcome obstacles and better themselves by completing a degree or credential,” Randy Porter, Putnam County executive, said. “Increasing the education level is the start to reducing poverty and unemployment and increasing our quality of life.”
The Tennessee Reconnect initiative is part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 plans to ensure 55 percent of Tennesseans are equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025, in order to meet job market demands.
The Highlands Economic Partnership (HEP), on behalf of the UC region and in collaboration with local leaders from the community, employers and higher education institutions, received one of three initial Reconnect Community grants awarded by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) in fall 2015. HEP, founded by the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce to be a regional economic development engine through marketing, advocacy and workforce development and education programs is the lead organization and fiscal agent administering the UCTRC grant. Additional supporting partners in the establishment and operation of the Upper Cumberland Tennessee Reconnect Community include Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville Higher Education Campus, TCAT-Livingston, Upper Cumberland Development District, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, and local government, chambers of commerce, leaders, and employers of the UC.