By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers.…but above all the world needs dreamers who do,” reads a poster at Tennessee Technology Center.

Anyone with a GED can enroll in self-paced programs as diverse as practical nursing and collision repair, learning by doing with lectures at a minimum. Costs range from $1638 to $7,711 for a phlebotomy or machine-tool technology certificate respectively.

For aspiring barbers, the day begins with a “theory class” on topics such as hair tinting, sanitation, and customer fees. The classroom, mimicking a workplace, then offers four hands-on experiences.

Remedial work is integrated into academic programs, providing less stigma for students.

With 27 locations in the state serving low-income, racially and ethnically diverse adults, the system boasts a 75% graduation and an 83% job-placement rate, getting the attention of community colleges and the City University of New York, both with broader missions but impressed with retention.

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