With nearly 225,000 private-sector jobs created in Tennessee in the past four years, our state's economy is booming. Due to this job growth and its associated capital investment, Business Facilities magazine recently named Tennessee "State of the Year" for the second year in a row. Tennessee is the first state to receive the recognition in consecutive years.With this success as our backdrop, we hosted Gov. Bill Haslam today at our Governor's Address. This event is our members' annual opportunity to hear from our state's top leader about his priorities, which closely align with the Chamber's most important concerns.
Haslam discussed his goals for helping Tennessee maintain "high and rigorous" educational standards, noting that well-prepared students become tomorrow's workers who can help our state address the challenges ahead. The Haslam administration's Tennessee Promise -- the first program of its kind in the nation -- will provide two years of tuition-free education at any of Tennessee's 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or any other eligible institution offering an associate degree.
While Tennessee Promise will help thousands of students achieve their goals of higher education, Haslam noted that 70 percent of students enter college needing remedial work -- a fact that points to the need to continue supporting more rigorous K-12 educational standards. "It's not just about college access, it's about college success," he said.Haslam also mentioned Insure Tennessee, a plan to provide 280,000 low-income Tennesseans with federally funded health care. Admitting he was disappointed by the plan's defeat in the General Assembly last month, Haslam said, "We'll keep trying to make it succeed. Our role is to continue to keep this discussion alive." The Nashville Area Chamber supports Insure Tennessee because it would help businesses avoid costly tax penalties associated with the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.
View a video recap of the Governor's Address below.