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New Motlow president says workforce needs have changed
New Motlow president Dr. Tony Kinkel made his first public appearance Tuesday at a speaking engagement at the McMinnville campus.

New Motlow College president Dr. Tony Kinkel says educators should focus on getting more students to graduate, not just enroll in college.
“When I coached basketball, no one asked me the score after the third quarter,” said Kinkel. “It’s not enough to get students in the door. We have to get them to the finish line.”
Kinkel began his new job as Motlow College president Aug. 1 and made his first public appearance at the McMinnville campus Tuesday night. He said it’s up to educators to prepare students to enter today’s workforce, which has vastly changed in recent years.
“Shame on us if we don’t educate our children on the jobs that are available today,” said Kinkel. “Capital flows to the states that have the best trained labor. Thank goodness Tennessee has figured that out.”
Kinkel said parents often push their children toward a four-year education believing that’s the best route for their future. However, he says it can be more beneficial to learn a skill, which might not require as much of a time commitment.
To illustrate his point, Kinkel said a utility lineman with 15 weeks of training can earn as much as a teacher with a master’s degree.
“That’s 15 weeks versus six years,” said Kinkel. “A lot of parents push their kids into a baccalaureate degree and there aren’t enough jobs there. Meanwhile, the jobs that require two years of training or one year of training go unfilled.”
Breaking down the level of education needed in today’s workforce is fairly simple, Kinkel says. He pointed to an analysis that shows one-third of the jobs require a high school degree, one-third require a two-year certificate, and one-third require a bachelor’s degree or more.
Kinkel said he can describe his reasons for wanting to come to Tennessee in two words – Tennessee Promise. The state’s new scholarship program begins this month and offers students who graduate from high school two years of community college or technical training for free. Kinkel says he realizes Motlow enrollment will increase due to this program, but school officials are not sure by how much.
Kinkel replaces Dr. MaryLou Apple, who was named Motlow president in 2006 and retired June 30. Kinkel comes to Tennessee from Wichita, Kan., where he was president of Wichita Area Technical College. Before that, Kinkel led community colleges in Colorado and Arkansas.
Early in his career, Kinkel was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives at age 24 and served 12 years in that capacity. He was elected twice to the Minnesota Senate.