Achieving the Dream and Cable Network CMT Announce Effort to Strengthen Rural Workforce


Achieving the Dream named as new partner in CMT Empowering Education’s 
Clinton Global Initiative-America Commitment to Action

Baltimore, MD (February 17, 2015) – Achieving the Dream and cable channel CMT unveiled a new national partnership to support education and workforce development efforts, it was announced today at the opening plenary session of DREAM 2015 – Achieving the Dream’s Annual Institute on Student Success. The partnership is an extension of CMT’s national campaign to support community colleges in rural America, CMT Empowering Education.

Achieving the Dream joins CMT and pilot partner the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in a Commitment to Action (CTA) made at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative-America. This Commitment aims to strengthen America’s rural workforce in some of the most economically-depressed areas by increasing the number of residents with postsecondary credentials, including degrees and certificates. Achieving the Dream joins CMT in an effort to support community colleges in their local mobilization efforts, using their extensive network of partner colleges.

“As income inequality in the United States continues to grow, community colleges remain one of the few accessible avenues to social mobility,” said Dr. William E. Trueheart, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “The community colleges, workers, and families located in rural America, where employment grew just 1.1 percent between 2010 and 2014, deserve focused and sustained local, state, and national attention. Enrolling more students who successfully earn community college credentials, even those who never even considered going to college, is vital to enhancing and growing vibrant communities and a strong national economy.”

Trueheart also noted that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2014 edition of Rural America at a Glance found that rural areas had a significantly larger proportion of working-age adults with a high school diploma but no further education.

“Our partnership with Achieving the Dream is a natural extension of our efforts to connect CMT viewers and students in rural areas to the incredible resources and opportunities that community colleges provide,” said Lucia Folk, Vice President of Public Affairs, CMT. “We have seen firsthand the power community colleges have to bridge the skills gap, train people for high-wage careers and ensure a better future for themselves and their families. CMT is excited to tap into Achieving the Dream’s strong relationships at the grassroots level and know that, with their expertise, we’ll be even more successful in creating opportunities for people to change their lives and for rural communities to attract new employers.”

Achieving the Dream will provide guidance and insight to CMT as it invites additional community colleges into the second and third cohorts of the CMT CTA.

In conjunction with this announcement, CMT is featuring two CTA pilot colleges that are also Achieving the Dream Institutions – Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) and Greenville Technical College (GTC) – at the opening night plenary of DREAM 2015. CMT will share inspirational success stories from students at these institutions and lead a panel discussion to learn more about their educational journeys.

Panelists will include CCBC graduate Jeff Mannion, who completed the school’s welding program and is now an employed certified pipe welder; CCBC student Joshua Mabin, who intends to earn an associate’s degree and transfer into a university program to study communications; GTC student Christy Martinson, a mother who enrolled at GTC at the urging of her daughter and plans to attend Furman University; and GTC student Harold Callum, who earned an associate degree in Human Services and is now pursuing a second degree in the University Transfer program. 

CMT also will lead a Pre-Institute Workshop on Tuesday, February 17 to explain how Achieving the Dream Institutions can join CMT’s CTA. CMT will incorporate lessons learned from DREAM 2015 in their 2015 CGI America CTA progress report.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 34 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps nearly 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION is a comprehensive educational campaign that provides an online resource,, to aid CMT viewers in overcoming the most commonly perceived obstacles to furthering education. The site aggregates the multitude of existing quality information in one easy-to-navigate central location, and creates an individualized education action plan for each user.

CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION is founded on the same education research and insights that led to the creation of Get Schooled, a non-profit organization dedicated to using media, technology and popular culture to improve attendance. Get Schooled was formed through a partnership between Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Advising partners for the CMT EMPOWERING EDUCATION campaign include Achieving the Dream, the Association of Career and Technical Education, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for Workforce and Economic Development at the American Association of Community Colleges, National Skills Coalition and Skills for America's Future (the Aspen Institute).

Lynn Reddy, Achieving the Dream
Phone: 301-520-9940 (cell)

Amanda Murphy, CMT
Phone: 615-948-6573 (cell)


CMT Empowering Education


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