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Business Facilities’ 10th Annual Rankings Report: Tennessee Races To The Top In Education; Alabama Takes Automotive Crown

Tennessee emerged as the top-ranked state for education in Business Facilities’ 10th Annual Rankings Report. The Volunteer State finished first among states that have successfully implemented the federal Race to the Top program.

Tennessee was one of the first states chosen to participate in Race to the Top (RTTT), receiving a grant of $500,741 from the U.S. Department of Education. In its Year Three RTTT assessment of the states, the Department of Education singled out Tennessee for what it called “notable progress.”

The federal report said Tennessee actually exceeded the RTTT standards in raising grades and closing achievement gaps in 167 schools identified as Focus Schools by the program. TN also has moved forward to reform teacher evaluations.

“Tennessee is betting its future on education, and we think that bet will yield a huge return,” said Jack Rogers, BF Editor in Chief. “Education is the key to sustainable growth in the 21st century. They get that in the Volunteer State. By staying ahead of the curve (instead of grading by one), Tennessee is guaranteed a bright future.”

In January 2010, Tennessee passed the First to the Top Act (FTTT). FTTT laid the foundation for broad-based education reform, including a comprehensive evaluation system for teachers and principals based on multiple measures of effectiveness; the removal of the restriction on the use of value-added data for promotion, retention, tenure and compensation decisions; state intervention in TN’s lowest-achieving schools; and a statewide plan for higher education established through the Complete College Act of 2010.

Filling out the top five in the magazine’s new Education: Race to the Top Leaders category were, respectively, Delaware, Hawaii, North Carolina and New York.

For the first time in five years, there’s a new auto champ wearing the No. 1 ranking in Automotive Manufacturing Strength. The Crimson Tide rolled into the top slot, nipping the Business Facilities champ for four consecutive years, Tennessee.

“After rising through the ranks of our flagship auto strength category like one of the Saturn V rockets they used to produce in Huntsville, Alabama finally has reached the summit,” Rogers said.

“The space between our top two finishers was closer than Ryan Hunter-Reay’s 0.060 margin of victory in this year’s Indianapolis 500, and No. 3 and No. 4 (Indiana and Kentucky) were revving their engines and gaining on the frontrunners at the finish line,” Rogers noted.

The development that literally put Alabama on the map as a major jobs producer took place two decades ago, when Mercedes-Benz decided in 1993 to locate its North American manufacturing hub in Tuscaloosa. Mercedes’ decision was a game-changer: the German automaker’s arrival opened the door for other industrial leaders to come to Alabama. It also established the state as a front-runner in foreign direct investment.

Mercedes-Benz’s long-term commitment to Alabama was followed by a parade of auto giants who have vaulted the state into the top five in U.S. automotive production, with more than 900,000 vehicles produced in 2013. Hyundai, Honda and Toyota have major automotive production facilities in Alabama, all of which are in the process of expanding.

Alabama got a turbocharged boost to the top of our automotive scoreboard from the Alabama Industrial Development Training [AIDT] program, an innovative leader in workforce training initiatives that specializes in developing on-site training facilities for key industries, including aerospace, ship-building and automotive.

Last year, the state signed an agreement with Mercedes-Benz that recognizes Shelton State Community College as one of the best in its field in preparing individuals for careers in manufacturing. Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI) and AIDT formalized a $1.6-million contract for Shelton to support MBUSI’s technical programs. The initiative will be funded through AIDT’s Workforce Development program.

Here are the top 10 states in Education: Race to the Top Leaders:

EDUCATION: RACE TO THE TOP LEADERS

  1. TENNESSEE
  2. DELAWARE
  3. HAWAII
  4. NORTH CAROLINA
  5. NEW YORK
  6. GEORGIA
  7. OHIO
  8. COLORADO
  9. MASSACHUSETTS
  10. FLORIDA

Here are the top 10 states in Automotive Manufacturing Strength:

AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING STRENGTH 

  1. ALABAMA
  2. TENNESSEE
  3. INDIANA
  4. KENTUCKY
  5. OHIO
  6. MICHIGAN
  7. SOUTH CAROLINA
  8. GEORGIA
  9. TEXAS
  10. MISSISSIPPI

For the full article, click this link.

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