(Memphis) Leadership Memphis says a plan is in the works aimed at increasing the number of adults here in Memphis with a college degree through a new program called Graduate Memphis.
The Plough Foundation is giving a 1.7 million dollar grant to create a college resource center here in the Benjamin L. Hooks Library.
It will be called The Graduate Memphis Resource Center, and will offer online and one on one counseling to help manage adult students on a case by case basis.
Almost 200,000 adults here in Memphis started college but didn't finish. Graduate Memphis will give the another chance to finish their degree.
'They have families. They have jobs. The have other emergencies that get in the way. There's always a barrier and we're here to remove those barriers,' said program director Fred Turvey.
Turvey says the center will be tailored for each individual to create a route to a college degree, and even help participants find funds for college, "The program will be geared so that the councilor stays with them through graduation to help them overcome whatever barriers may come up in the process of finishing that degree."
Mayor A C Wharton believes Graduate Memphis along with other programs like Books from Birth will have a huge economic impact to the city.
Now companies like Mitsubishi are building plants here but training people in Japan.
Something that could change with more education opportunities.
"I wake up at night and have nightmares because we bring employers in and they say 'we have a little problem we can't find enough people,'" said Mayor Wharton.
Wharton also says Graduate Memphis will promote diversity and tolerance and fight crime in the city by creating a more educated population.
This is a very unique program in the country.
Philadelphia has a similar program and their statistics show 94% of their participants went on to graduate from college.
After five years Graduate Memphis will have to begin funding themselves when the Plough grant money works out and they are looking into ways of doing that.
People who are interested can walk in here to the library or access information off a website that is being built right now.