MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Fast food workers in Memphis are demanding a pay increase. They want minimum wage to be $15 an hour. Mayor Jim Strickland says the city has thousands of open jobs that pay that or better.
"Memphis is an opportunity city. We have 15,000 jobs open in the Memphis area right now. Over half of them pay $15 an hour or more," Mayor Strickland said.
Of course, many require a college education. But the good news is, you can get one tuition-free in Tennessee.
It all has to do with a bill Governor Bill Haslam signed last year. It created the Tennessee Reconnect program, which allows adults to go to a community college or technical school without paying tuition. The program covers you for an associates degree.
Jacqueline Faulkner is V.P. of Student Affairs at Southwest Tennessee Community College. She lists some examples of what an associates degree can do.
"So, our nursing program. We know annual salaries for nurses, just at base salaries, can be upwards of $65,000 (per year). We also have pharmacy technician. We have business. We have technologists where earnings start around $43,000 to $45,000 per year," Faulkner says.
Of course, you can always take the degree and transfer to a university too.
The program, unfortunately, does not cover text books, but a lot of community colleges offer financial aid to those who qualify.