Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gubernatorial Candidate Boyd Stresses Post-Secondary Goals

The former state Economic Development Commissioner, a partner in Haslam’s innovations, talks tech education in visit to Whitehaven campus of Southwest Community College.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 11:55 PM

click to enlarge Boyd at Finley Road on Thursday - JB
  • JB
  • Boyd at Finley Road on Thursday
 After a tour Thursday of the Finley Road (Whitehaven) campus of Southwest Community College, in a repurposed former shopping center, Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd touted a remedial catch-up program underway there and spoke of the irony that Shelby County, with its larger-than-usual poverty base, was experiencing a “flipped” ratio, whereby only 20 percent of tech-school certificates issued in the county are via public schools and 80 percent by private schools..

In the rest of Tennessee, the former state Commissioner of Economic Development said, 80 percent of such certificates are issued through public schools, as against 20 percent by private institutions. The imbalance in Shelby County, Boyd said, was due in large part to the simple lack of both accessible public facilities and adequate training equipment.

“We also need to do a better job of telemarketing,” he said.

The Knoxville-based Boyd was a major force in the development of several of Governor Bill Haslam’s innovations in post-secondary education, including Tennessee Promise, which offers free tuition to the state’s community colleges and technical schools and Drive to 55, which offers incentives for adult Tennesseeans to complete college degree programs left incomplete.

The pilot program in remedial English and math at Finley Road is meant to as a precursor to similar programs elsewhere that are designed to improve the preparedness of tech- and community college students, thereby to raise their graduation rate.. Candidate Boyd envisions further state programs to achieve that goal and has developed two non-profit programs that are potential models to that end, Tennesse Achieves and Complete Tennessee.

Clearly, Boyd intends, if elected Governor, to develop further the kinds of programs pioneered in the Haslam administration..

The former Commissioner professes not to be concerned about the activities of other announced gubernatorial candidates, who at this point on the Republican side include Frankiin businessman Bill Lee, who recently claimed significant fundraising results, or state Senator Mae Beaver, the most recent candidate to make a formal entry. Nor is he preoccupied with the matter of who else might enter the race

“I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the competition,” said Boyd, whose pre-governmental career was that of a highly successful entrepreneur. He recalled having “about 12 competitors” when he was developing Invisible Fences, a tech product designed to contain pets without the use of overtly physical barriers. “I just sold the features, and things worked themselves out.”

Not that Boyd is entirely oblivious to the practical task of dealing with rival candidates. His visit to Memphis included what he expected to be “a significant fundraiser” on Thursday night, and he has already spent a great deal of time criss-crossing the state on campaign tours. And while he runs, he runs. Literally.

Boyd begins each day with a five-mile run. (On Thursday, his schedule was brisk enough that he had to start his morning run at 4 a.m “Believe it or not, it’s my way to relax and compose myself.” he said.

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