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VOL. 45 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 14, 2021

Study: COVID kept Metro grads from college

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The 2021 Bridge to Completion report from the Nashville Public Education Foundation and the Tennessee College Access and Success Network finds unique challenges and inequities for Nashville public school graduates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, completed in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and other organizations involved in the New Skills Ready initiative, states an estimated 800 students who in any typical year would be enrolled in college are now not enrolled, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report also found that while 81% of MNPS students took steps toward college this past year – a rate similar to past years – 41.9% of students experienced “melt” – meaning they had college-going intentions but did not end up enrolling in the fall of 2020.

The rate of melt during the summer more than doubled from the previous year – an additional 996 students – likely due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s 2020 college-going rate was 46.9%, an 8.3% decline from 2019, and the lowest point in over a decade.

As a result, MNPS graduating classes of 2019 and 2020 could experience an estimated collective loss of lifetime earnings totaling $184.4 million.

While not all college-going trends identified in the 2021 report are directly tied to COVID-19, the pandemic has played a large role in worsening existing inequities and barriers that students face in their postsecondary trajectory, the report states.

The report makes three key recommendations:

• Accelerate robust college and career exploration and counseling as a core part of students’ high school experience and deepen the participation of local employers and nonprofits

• Diversify and strengthen academic and career preparation so that more students have the ability to earn early college credit and high-demand certifications while still in high school

• Advance policies and practices across the postsecondary ecosystem that reduce economic barriers for students to enroll, persist and complete college.

Nashville sisters offer kids social media tools

Two Nashville sisters have created a video series and interactive study guide to directly educate pre-teens and teens on having a positive online and social media experience.

Hallie House and Hannah George’s series is FILTER First. The acronym covers six areas that are crucial for achieving a positive experience online: Following, Intentions, LifeStory, Time, Emotions and Reality.

“Like it or not social media is here to stay and as parents we found that you can restrict their usage, implement all of the suggested parental controls, and monitor their accounts as much as you want, but in the end the teens are the ones behind the screens,’’ says House, who like her sister is also a mother.

Adds George, “Studies show that teens using social media are more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, poor body image and low self-esteem. We hope to stop the problem before it starts by empowering young people to set healthy boundaries and create good habits early.’’ The series is now on sale at www.FilterFirst.org.

Nashville ranks 7th for new home construction

More than 25% of single-family homes for sale in America during the first quarter were new-construction homes, a report from Redfin finds.

That’s an increase of 20.4% a year earlier and represents the highest share on record.

Both Nashville (seventh) and Knoxville (10th) placed in the Top 10, the report states.

In El Paso, 53.2% of single-family homes for sale in the first quarter were newly built –the largest share of the 82 U.S. metropolitan areas in Redfin’s analysis.

Metros must have had populations of at least 750,000 and at least 50 sales of newly built single-family homes in the first quarter to be included in Redfin’s analysis.

The other metros in the top 10 were Boise (46.7%), Houston (35.5%), Raleigh (34.5%), Baton Rouge (34.1%), Albany, New York (33.7%), Nashville (31.9%), Charlotte, North Carolina (31.6%), Oklahoma City, OK (30.8%) and Knoxville (29.6%).

TN population up 8.9%, now ranked 16th in US

The Tennessee State Data Center reports the state’s resident population grew to 6,910,840 over the past decade. The gain of 564,735 people equates to an 8.9% increase since 2010.

The Data Center is housed in the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. Researchers at the center analyzed the data.

Tennessee ranked as the 16th most populous state in the nation, up one position from 2010. It trails No. 15 Massachusetts by 119,077 people and leads No. 17 Indiana by 125,312.

The new count of the state’s residents was released along with congressional apportionment results which, as expected, show that Tennessee retains its current allocation of nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That figure has held since 1980.

The state’s population increase over the past 10 years is smaller than gains seen in the previous two decades. During the period from 1990 to 2000, the state added more than 812,000 people, an increase of 16.7. Between 2000 and 2010, Tennessee added almost 657,000 people for an 11.5%.

“Although our growth rate was slightly lower last decade, the 2020 population counts did exceed the pre-census estimate of an 8.3% increase,” says Tim Kuhn, director of the Tennessee State Data Center.

“We have to wait to learn more, but we are very thankful to Tennesseans who completed the census and to the public and private leaders across the state who helped promote a complete count of our residents.”

MorganFranklin opens office in Nashville

MorganFranklin Consulting, a finance and technology advisory firm, has announced the opening of offices in Nashville and Raleigh, North Carolina.

MorganFranklin is the global consulting platform of Vaco, a talent and solutions firm that provides consulting, contract and direct hire solutions to more than 40 markets around the globe.

MorganFranklin, headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, works with businesses to address complex, transformational finance, technology and business objectives.

Areas of expertise include on-demand technical accounting, financial reporting, assistance with IPO, M&A and SPAC transactions, finance transformation and the implementation of enterprise & cloud applications including NetSuite, Microsoft ERP, OneStream and more.

Vertava Health acquires Integrated Addiction

Vertava Health, a national behavioral health care system for mental health and substance use disorders, has acquired Memphis-based Integrated Addiction Care Associates, an outpatient behavioral health provider that offers care to patients through locations in Memphis, Jackson and Covington.

The acquisition increases Vertava Health’s presence in the Midsouth and further strengthens the organization’s integrated full continuum of care with the expansion of medication assisted treatments, intensive outpatient programs and primary care services in the outpatient setting.

The acquisition follows Vertava Health’s continued expansion with the recent opening of four new outpatient behavioral health and wellness centers in Ohio and Tennessee.

Brickstone adds more Colorado property

Brickstone Partners, a real estate investment and development firm in Nashville, has announced the $81 million acquisition and renovation of 288 units comprised of the Landmark and Stone Creek apartment communities adjacent to Colorado State University.

Brickstone will embark on a comprehensive upgrade of the properties and will modernize the 1986-built units and include new flooring, modern kitchen and bathroom cabinets, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, upgraded doors, new lighting and plumbing fixtures, exterior landscaping, common-area improvements and clubhouse finishes.

Landmark and Stone Creek are just minutes from campus and provide quick access to numerous dining, shopping and entertainment destinations.

California manufacturer coming to Columbia

JC Ford Company, a California-based manufacturer in high-speed corn tortilla production, will locate new operations in Columbia.

The automated equipment manufacturer will invest $30 million to renovate two existing facilities and create 210 new jobs in Maury County over the next five years.

JC Ford also manufactures tortilla chip production lines, ranging from 250 pounds per hour to a completely automated 4,000 pounds per hour system. The company works with clients offering customized options for layout, design, equipment, product development and service to fit each client’s needs while maximizing resources and product quality.

Family-owned and operated, JC Ford was founded nearly 80 years ago.

Hiring is underway. Interested applicants can go to www.jcford.com to learn more.

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