NASHVILLE, TN – Tennessee has been recognized by a national organization for its work in preparing students for high-wage, in-demand jobs and for establishing strong pathways to obtain those jobs.
A bipartisan network of state and district education leaders, Chiefs for Change, released two reports outlining how systems can create rigorous college, career and technical education (CCTE) programming and provide students pathways to those careers, recognizing three states for their work, including Tennessee.
One of the reports, The Role of State Governance in Supporting Learner Pathways, notes that Tennessee “prioritizes CTE as a key component for promoting higher postsecondary credential attainment,” and that it “serves as K–12 lead for Governor Bill Lee’s effort to develop a strong, educated workforce in Tennessee.”
A second report, Education to Workforce Learner Pathways, recognizes the work happening through the Department of Education’s Tennessee Pathways initiative that has a strong K–12 college and career advisement, early postsecondary and work-based learning opportunities for secondary students, as well as vertical alignment among K–12, postsecondary programs, and career opportunities
“Tennessee understands the value and impact that career and technical education can have for students, and our state’s track record of success continues as this work has been recognized as nation-leading and as we strengthen the opportunities available to students across the state,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Preparing students for in-demand jobs that require strong skill sets and are accompanied by strong pay will help ensure our kids can find the best possible pathway to future success. It’s terrific to see the hard work our students, families and educators are doing being recognized.”
The department also launched a $10 million program with the Niswonger Foundation to help students throughout the state have access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes to potentially earn college credit, even if their own schools do not offer the courses. The program, AP Access for ALL, is in its first year and has already enrolled 1,200 students across 102 high schools throughout the state. The program was designed to offer classes virtually to students in schools that may not be able to support those classes. Through taking an Advanced Placement class, students are able to test their proficiency and potentially earn college credit for their high school coursework, serving to prepare students for college readiness as they graduate. The courses serve to remove barriers some districts with limited resources may face in providing students with courses that they might not otherwise be able to take outside of a virtual setting.