In a matter of just a few days, we learned we have the lowest unemployment rate in Tennessee’s recorded history, a record number of high school students filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as part of their pathway to college, and we announced 1,000 new manufacturing jobs in Bledsoe County.
We believe all of this is the result of the policies we have put in place working with the Tennessee General Assembly in education, workforce training and economic development. It shows we are on the right track in making our state the Tennessee it can be.
Additionally, we announced two weeks ago that after 16 years of system-wide reform, a thoroughly transformed foster care system and a lot of hard work, the Department of Children’s Services is free of federal court oversight brought by litigation known as the “Brian A.” lawsuit. This is monumental for Tennessee’s children and the state as the federal government agrees we are providing service to children in a way that models what it should look like for the rest of the country.
On July 7, we opened the Tennessee Volunteer ChalleNGe Academy, an alternative residential program operated by the Tennessee National Guard. The Academy helps teens who were headed down the wrong path earn their high school diploma, making them eligible for Tennessee Promise and helping us reach our Drive to 55 goal.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price traveled to Chattanooga on July 6 to discuss the opioid epidemic with me, other state leaders and treatment providers. Opioid addiction is one of the biggest challenges facing our state – and the entire country – and I appreciate the Trump administration for pledging to help tackle this issue.
Finally, as teachers across the state prepare to head back to the classroom – some are already there – I am grateful that several spent their last few days of summer with me at the first Teacher Leadership Summit held by the Department of Education and SCORE and the quarterly meeting of the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet. To all teachers, principals, faculty and staff across the state, I wish you a great start to the school year.
As always, I appreciate your interest in our work. Feel free to email me at [email protected]
Bill Haslam is the Republican governor of Tennessee.