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Tennessee governor formally launches Drive to 55 program

September 4th, 2013 9:07 pm by Rick Wagner

Tennessee governor formally launches Drive to 55 program

KINGSPORT  — Drive to 55 at first blush might sound like a highway speed-limit program left over from the 1970s.

But it is actually Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s 21st century drive to speed up attainment of degrees and certificates by Tennesseans, something he said is crucial to the economic future of Tennessee, local governments and their residents.

Haslam mentioned the program in his State of the State address in January but formally launched it Wednesday in Nashville and gave some updates on activities related to it so far.

During an editorial board meeting with the Kingsport Times-News on Tuesday, he and Randy Boyd, special adviser for higher education, gave a rundown on the logistics and reasons for the program, which has a website at

In a nutshell, by 2025, Haslam said the projection is that 55 percent of the jobs in Tennessee will require either a four-year degree, two-year degree or a certificate. Just 32 percent of jobs require one of those now.

See Thursday's print edition for an expanded version of this story.

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