Graduate Memphis Office opens at Central Library July 2012
Memphis, TN – 29 March 2012 – Plough Foundation Awards $1.7 Million forCollege Attainment Initiative
Representatives of Leadership Memphis, the Plough Foundation, and the Memphis Public Library are announcing a grant to the Memphis Talent Dividend, an initiative of Leadership Memphis. The $1.7 million dollar grant will fund the creation, staffing, and operations of a college resource center called Graduate Memphis, designed to increase post-secondary attainment among adults.
Plans call for Graduate Memphis to have a physical presence inside the Benjamin L. HooksMemphis Public Library at 3030 Poplar as well as online. There are four major components:
- Interactive kiosk and reference materials accessible during library operating hours.
- Counselorsto meet individually with prospective returning students at the library.
- Telephone counselors will be available via a 1-800 number who can help adults explore college credit for work and career experience.
- New web site offering online information and providing links to resources.
The mission of the two year old Memphis Talent Dividend is to increase the number of college graduates in the Memphis metropolitan area with a particular emphasis on adults who started but never finished college. The specific goal of the initiative is to increase college attainment in the Memphis area by one percentage point over five years. To do so would generate about 8,000 additional college graduates which in turn would produce a $1 billion dollar annual economic impact on the area.
An estimated 200,000 adults in the Memphis area, age 25 and older, have started but never completed a college degree. “Without guidance counselors, information on scholarships, assistance with forms and deadlines, this population – seemingly the low hanging fruit for raising the attainment rate – is not likely to return and finish college,” said Fred Turverey, Director of the Memphis Talent Dividend.
After working with representatives of business, higher education, non-profits, media, and faith-based organizations in a collaborative manner for two years, the idea of an accessible resource center specifically designed for the returning student is now coming to fruition. “The term Memphis Talent Dividend has been a banner around which to gather a variety of stakeholders in our community. To have greater appeal to our target market we will use the name Graduate Memphis to market the new college resource center and related activities going forward,” said Trace Hallowell of Tactical Magic whose branding firm is assisting with marketing of the program.
Graduate Memphis will be funded by a grant from the Plough Foundation over a three -year period. “We believe the impact of increased college attainment is good for every sector of our city. It means that our citizens can have access to better jobs and careers. It also means a stronger workforce that can help attract more business and industry to our community, as well as grow our existing businesses,” said Scott McCormick, Plough Foundation Executive Director.
“This is a huge win for Memphis. There are only three other centers similar to it in the U.S. It is the result of leaders working together to shape a vision and being determined to see it come to reality. Leadership Memphis is honored to have convened the Memphis Talent Dividend supporters who have cooperated to bring a vision to life. We are deeply appreciative of the investment the Plough Foundation has made for our community to increase college attainment,” said David Williams, Leadership Memphis President & CEO. “They are making the difference. What was just a dream will now be a dream come true, thanks to the Plough Foundation.”
The anticipated date to open the Center is July 1, 2012. For more information see www.memphistalentdividend.com or call 278-0016.