Impact of Nashville Reconnect Cafès and Reconnect Ambassadors highlighted in recent Brookings article

The city of Nashville and Middle Tennessee have experienced tremendous growth over the past 10 years. The Nashville region is home to nearly two million residents and more than 40,000 businesses. However, our unemployment rate is at a historic low. How do we manage this economic growth while also ensuring Nashville residents are not left behind? This is where the work of our Talent Development team comes in. 

In a recent Brookings article, Nashville is highlighted for its continuous and impactful work in helping adults complete a postsecondary degree or credential. In 2017, the Lumina Foundation designated Nashville as a Talent Hub, establishing a partnership between Nashville State Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Metro Government to promote educational opportunities beyond high school. The Talent Hub designation focused on the Nashville Promise Zone, an economically disadvantaged part of Nashville where there are nearly 53,000 adults without a postsecondary degree or credential. 

To assist residents in the Nashville Promise Zone, the Talent Hub partnership opened three Reconnect Cafès at Nashville State Community College campuses in Davidson County. These cafès serve as gathering places for students and connections points for on- and off-campus resources that address barriers to completing education. Mobile Reconnect Cafès provide even easier access for Reconnectors by meeting them where they are, bringing resources to businesses across Nashville, churches, community-based organizations, jails, and other places where adults need support in completing their education. Reconnect Cafès have become a critical connection point for students to find resources, speak to Reconnect Navigators, and receive community support and coaching. Reconnect Navigators serve as educational mentors and also as friends to Reconnectors pursuing postsecondary education. 

The Nashville Chamber is dedicated to providing a variety of talent development initiatives for the Nashville region and is proud to be a part of the Talent Hub partnership. In 2019, the Nashville Chamber trained more than 160 people across the city to serve as Reconnect Ambassadors, with efforts concentrated in the Promise Zone. We look forward to training many more in 2020 to help the Nashville region continue to prosper. 

To learn more about the Nashville Reconnect Cafès, please click here. To read the full Brookings article discussing Nashville Reconnect's success, please click here. To find out how your business can get involved in Nashville Reconnect to serve your employees, please click here

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