Unum officials announced Thursday a pledge of $450,000 for public education initiatives over the next three years. Investing through Public Education Foundation to support the Principal Leadership Academy, the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) high school and mini-grants to teachers, Unum is extending a partnership with the Hamilton County Department of Education and community partners that they began five years ago.
“The quality of education in a community impacts all other aspects of the community, from the poverty rate to economic development opportunities,” said Tom White, senior vice president of Investor Relations at Unum.
“Communities that have a well-educated workforce are able to maintain and grow businesses and provide good employment opportunities for its citizens.”
Rick Smith, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, said that Unum’s investment will benefit key areas needed to impact students and prepare them for the future. “After becoming superintendent, I knew our district needed to focus on improving and innovating STEM education,” Mr. Smith said. “Unum’s investment in the new STEM high school, along with their support of the Principal Leadership Academy and grants to teachers, touches on the key areas that impact students – great STEM education, leadership, and investment in teachers at the classroom level.”
Opening in August, the new STEM high school will serve as a demonstration site for innovative practices in STEM education and eventually serve 300 students. Unum employees are investing time in the STEM school and hub to help develop curriculum and connect student learning to real-world applications. The Principal Leadership Academy – a collaboration between HCDE, the Public Education Foundation, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga -- has just accepted its third cohort of aspiring principals and will continue to benefit from Unum executives acting as mentors.
“Corporate support of public education shows the community that companies are invested in the futures of our students. Unum is a leader in Chattanooga not only for its financial support of our schools, but also through the thousands of volunteer hours they put into helping our students, teachers, and leaders,” said Dan Challener, president of PEF.