GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - There's a new program in Tennessee giving students the opportunity to further their education after high school.
The Tennessee Promise has been accepting applications for just 5 days and they've already had around 1,000 people apply.
It's a dream some high school students have, but never get to fulfill, the chance to go to college or technical school.
South Greene High School senior Jeffery Zavaleta signed up for the Tennessee Promise, which gets him one step closer to his dream. "I get two free years out of the way because I have to go for six to get a physical therapist degree. So it just helps me out with money," he said.
Jeffery's classmate Rhonda Dressler has been taking cosmetology classes while in school at the Greene County Center for Technology. With the Tennessee Promise she will get the chance to finish her cosmetology certification. "I don't know where I would be. I don't know if I would be able to continue my career with cosmology for financial reasons," says Dressler.
The Tennessee Promise offers students free tuition and fees for two years at a community college of college of applied technology, then the option to transfer to a four-year college.
Governor Haslam is hoping this will fill the gap on trade jobs in the state. "There are some very specific jobs and skill sets that we either don't have enough of or we have a lot of people, but they are getting ready to retire. So our technology colleges play a great role in filling that void," he said.
Haslam says the program is not just about telling students they need to be trained, but telling them what jobs are open. "Right now every welder that graduates or finished one of our applied centers of technology can get a job right away, I mean right away," he said.
We learned the goal is to get students the training they need to be able to get a job in the changing market, and that's something Jeffery says could impact his future for the better. "It really helps me out a lot and I'm very thankful for it," he said.
Haslam says there are no grade requirements for the program other than keeping a 2.0 GPA. Applications will be open until November 1.
To fill out an application for the Tennessee Promise click here for more information.
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