The Roane Alliance on Thursday kicked off a fund drive to keep its Education Matters! initiative—a “Best Practice” program, according to the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce— continuing in the future.
The Education Matters! program funding is being cut as of June 30 of this year.
“The Education Matters! mission is that every child in Roane County gets some post-secondary education—and does well at it,” said Leslie Henderson, president and chief executive officer of The Roane Alliance. “Education Matters! is making remarkable progress towards that goal, but starting at the end of June this year, the program has lost its funding and we need the community’s help.
“We owe it to our kids and our businesses—as their future employers—to keep this going,” Henderson said.
The program needs $75,000 annually if it is going to continue serving Roane County, its citizens and businesses, Henderson explained, so The Alliance kicked off an Education Matters! fund drive Thursday in Kingston.
At the kick-off event, The Alliance was flanked by representatives of several EM! Fund Drive Founding Partners: Roane State Community College; Tennessee Technology Center Harriman; Roane County United Way, and Roane County Public Schools—all of whom committed to support the Alliance’s Education Matters! program going forward.
Other supporting partners announced at the event included First Bank of Tennessee, a Gold Partner.
The levels of partnerships in the Education Matters! Fund Drive that were announced Thursday include:
- Founding Partner: $5,000
- Platinum Partner: $2,500
- Gold Partner: $1,000
- Silver Partner: $500
- Community Partners: Whatever you can afford.
“Over the past five years, the multi-million-dollar Knoxville Oak Ridge Innovation Valley economic partnership has proved to be a very successful relationship for Roane County in many ways,” said Henderson, “but in 2013, Innovation Valley ended the grant monies it provided to its county partners. For The Roane Alliance, this means that the $75,000 annual average funding IV has provided for the past five years to the Alliance is gone as of June 30, 2013, the vast majority of which paid for our highly-successful Education Matters! initiative.”
“We must not let the momentum of our extremely effective education/workforce development program slow,” said Allen Lutz, the education and workforce development specialist for the Roane Alliance and director of the Education Matters! initiative. “There isn’t anything more important to the successful economic development of Roane County in today’s world than the effective, new-economy, post-secondary education of our future workforce. We need to start now to raise enough funding to make up for these cuts to keep this Education Matters! going.”
Henderson said the initiative has been very effective.
“For example,” she said, “the RoaneAchieves program alone, one of the many that we have created, fostered and grown as part of this initiative, resulted this past year in more than 100 high school students going to community college. And, 60 percent of the students are the first in their family to attend college.”
Education Matters! includes education awareness programs, Tennessee Scholars, the Annual High School Career Day, RoaneAchieves (part of the tnAchieves program), the Internship Initiative, Educators in the Workplace Lunch and Learn program, Teachers’ Supply Closet, and more.
To become an Education Matters! partner and learn more about its programs, visit www.EducationMatters2Roane.org.
The Roane Alliance is Roane County’s economic development organization. It consists of both public and private organizations, including the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, the Roane County Industrial Development Board, and the Roane County Visitors Bureau.
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