Tennesseans claiming unemployment benefits can earn college degree

Posted at 1:42 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 14:42:12-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The state says it will help up to 500,000 Tennesseans, who are claiming unemployment benefits, earn a college degree while they’re fulfilling work search requirements.

Gov. Bill Lee announced the new program, “Reconnect to Workforce,” on Thursday. The program is a collaboration between the Tennessee Reconnect program and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Tennessee Reconnect is a last-dollar grant that offers two years of tuition-free community or technical college for eligible adults who have not yet gotten a degree. The state says last year, more than 2,000 students were awarded a certificate or degree.

Federal unemployment benefits under the CARES Act will expire when the person has reached the maximum 39 weeks of payments. The last day to claim federal unemployment benefits is December 26, 2020.

“As federal unemployment benefits end, we want to ensure Tennesseans have the tools needed to skill up and gain long-term employment,” Gov. Lee said in a release. “There are over 250,000 available jobs in Tennessee and this partnership will remove barriers so Tennesseans across our state can obtain the skills needed to acquire a high-quality job.”

Click here to apply for Tennessee Reconnect.