NASHVILLE (WSMV) - An unprecedented move has been made by the City of Nashville to boost college graduation rates.

Mayor David Briley announced his initiative for the Nashville GRAD program on Wednesday, GRAD standing for Getting Results by Advancing Degrees.

“Today marks an incredibly important step toward closing equity gaps in our city, increasing economic opportunity, and investing in our workforce through access to quality education,” said Mayor David Briley.

The program also sponsored by Nashville State Community College and TCAT-Nashville will begin in Fall 2019 and will be implemented "through a financial assistance fund that will include an annual financial commitment from Metro Government and is expected to serve more than 3,000 students a year.

"Mayor Briley has committed to including up to $1 million in Metro's FY2019-2020 budget and up to $2.5 million annually after that," said a spokesperson for the mayor in a statement.

In addition, Mayor Briley and the Nashville State Community College Foundation are looking for local business partners to financially commit to developing Nashville's workforce and close the city's equity gaps.

“Increasing access to higher education is providing greater opportunity for our citizens, but to truly create student success, we must increase college completion rates. I commend Mayor Briley, Nashville State Community College and TCAT-Nashville for taking this step to ensure Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect students have the resources they need to earn postsecondary degrees and enter the workforce ready for today’s job demands,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said.

“We know that obtaining a degree or credential after high school can raise a person’s lifetime income by one-third, and by 2020, 60 percent of jobs will require some type of postsecondary degree. Giving Nashvillians the assistance they need to successfully reach this goal is vital to Nashville’s long-term prosperity.”

Nashville GRAD is meant to complement state programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect and cover expenses beyond tuition like textbooks, transportation, tools and supplies, and industry certification fees.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Producer

Joey is an award-winning multimedia producer from Augusta, GA and alumnus of the University of South Carolina-Aiken. He's happy to be Working 4 You and telling the stories of middle Tennessee on WSMV.com!

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