Chattanooga State TN Reconnect Students Have “Can Do” Attitude

March 5, 2021 | Betty A. Proctor | Internal Press Release

a woman thinking about attending a tn reconnect information session

Some of Chattanooga State’s Tennessee Reconnect students may have had doubts about starting school or returning to it after what may be only a few years or many years, but what they all have learned is that it can be done. That “can do” attitude has enabled hundreds of Chattanooga State students to graduate and move into successful careers.

Marsha Barker, Chattanooga State’s director of Adult Services, offers continuous virtual Tennessee Reconnect information sessions via Webex on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays during March. To better fit the life schedules of students, the sessions are offered moorings, afternoons or evenings. Reservations for any session can be made at

Marcus Cosey struggled with hearing hurtful words as a child, but he learned to build confidence by reading the Bible and developing a new mindset that included the words “I can.” After high school graduation, he enrolled in college but left before finishing the program. A few years later, Marcus earned a landscaping certificate but remained unsatisfied with his career choice. After three additional jobs, Marcus landed a job with a large company in Chattanooga that offers opportunities for development and career growth. “I knew that the time was right to return to school and get the degree I always wanted,” said Mr. Cosey, who recently enrolled in Construction Engineering this past fall thanks to the Tennessee Reconnect grant.

Like many individuals, Princess Burney wanted to further her education to take her career to the next level, “But finding the right schedule and financial assistance to help pay for school was an issue,” stated Princess. Ms. Burney is a 2002 graduate of the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program who has worked as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPht) for 17 years but she wanted more. Hearing about the Tennessee Reconnect program, she did her research, applied and was accepted into the Reconnect program. In 2019, Princess enrolled a Health Sciences major seeking a career as a forensic science laboratory technician.

Straight out of high school, Andy Condrey felt that he lacked the discipline that college required and needed time to mature, so he joined the Marine Corps. Before he had the chance to go back to school, he got married and became the father of three children. Working as a firefighter and certified paramedic, he wanted to do more in the medical field, but like many other individuals, family priorities came first. Andy’s children are now grown, and he works as a flight paramedic with Erlanger’s Life Force alongside some of the most confident, capable and brightest nurses, many of them graduates of Chattanooga State’s Nursing Program. “I have long wanted to go back to school and get my nursing degree, but the money for tuition was an issue,” said Mr. Condrey. Qualifying for the Tennessee Reconnect grant helped Andy realize that his quest to earn a nursing degree was now within reach.

Join Ms. Barker for a Tennessee Reconnect information session to get started on your educational goals. Make reservations at or call (423) 697-3346 for more information.

  • Saturdays @ 10 a.m. on March 6, 20, or 27.
  • Mondays @ 5:30 p.m. on March 8, 15, 22, or 29.
  • Wednesdays @ 2 p.m. on March 10, 17, 24, or 31.
  • Fridays @ 10 a.m. on March 12.