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Tennessee’s Newest Ad Campaign Tells Students College Might Not Be For Them

The "Go Build" campaign will encourage high school students to consider careers in construction.
Chas Sisk
/
WPLN
The "Go Build" campaign will encourage high school students to consider careers in construction.

Hear the radio version of this story.

The state of Tennessee is launching a $3 million ad campaign to tell high schoolers sometimes it's better not to go to college.

The partnership with builders is meant to get students to consider a career in the construction industry. The tag line of the "Go Build" campaign is that "4-year college isn't for everyone."

It's a message Governor Bill Haslam says he supports — even though he's been trying to get more Tennesseans to go to college.

"I think it actually works hand in hand," Haslam says, because the campaign will encourage promising students to go to two-year technology centers. Even those who don't go to technical school will benefit from apprenticeships and other programs that get them into the labor force, the governor says.

The campaign is being funded through licensing fees paid by builders. Backers say those fees have been running a surplus.

Promotional materials will emphasize career paths that don't require a college degree.
Credit Chas Sisk / WPLN
/
WPLN
Promotional materials will emphasize career paths that don't require a college degree.

"Go Build" will feature a website, TV ads and outreach to high school educators. Organizers say they hope to convince millennials that construction can be a high-paying and rewarding career. They note Middle Tennessee's hot real estate market and the fact that people are retiring from construction faster than they're joining the industry.

They say they've had success in the two other states where "Go Build" has launched — Georgia and Alabama.

The Tennessee campaign will have an initial run of three years.

Copyright 2016 WPLN News

Chas joined WPLN in 2015 after eight years with The Tennessean, including more than five years as the newspaper's statehouse reporter.Chas has also covered communities, politics and business in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University in New York, where he studied economics and journalism. Outside of work, he's a dedicated distance runner, having completed a dozen marathons