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More Resources Needed to Support Adult Postsecondary Access and Success, Mayor's Office and Complete Tennessee Report Confirms

Thomas Mulgrew 615-862-6461

The Office of Mayor David Briley and nonprofit higher education advocacy organization Complete Tennessee today released a report highlighting barriers to adult postsecondary education access and completion in Nashville.

The Nashville Talent Hub Report identifies significant barriers preventing many adults, particularly those living in poverty, from pursuing college or other postsecondary education programs. Among these are the cost of tuition and beyond, family concerns and obligations, transportation, and navigating complex policies that hinder enrollment. The report also notes public concerns about the perceived value of college, the benefits of completion, and the lack of opportunity after degree obtainment.

The report focuses on the Nashville Promise Zone, a geographical area where poverty and low educational outcomes are heavily concentrated. Data were gathered through a joint listening tour and survey conducted by the Mayor’s Office and Complete Tennessee in the Nashville Promise Zone. Participants included low-income adults with varying amounts of postsecondary experience.

“We have to close the equity gaps in our city,” said Mayor David Briley. “One of the best ways to do this is to connect adults to the postsecondary education needed to access higher-wage, high-demand jobs. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to accessing postsecondary education, even with free tuition and resources from Tennessee Reconnect. I am committed to addressing these barriers to ensure access to opportunity for all.”

“We must invest in resources and community engagement initiatives designed to provide much-needed support to adult students,” said Kenyatta Lovett, executive director of Complete Tennessee. “We hope this report will inspire action to better support adults as they pursue postsecondary degrees and credentials.”

In September 2017, the Lumina Foundation, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, designated Nashville as a Talent Hub community. The Nashville Talent Hub, a partnership between the Mayor’s Office, Complete Tennessee, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Nashville State Community College, provides dedicated funding and resources to increase postsecondary degree and credential attainment for adults living in the Nashville Promise Zone. Currently, 49% of Promise Zone adults hold no postsecondary degree and 47% of Promise Zone households earn less than $24,000 annually.

You can read and download the full Talent Hub report here.