On January 11, state leaders announced that Tennessee has won a $2 million grant to help our state’s K-12 students graduate college- and career-ready–thanks in part to the efforts of TBR.
Funded by JP Morgan Chase & Co. and awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), this latest New Skills For Youth (NSFY) grant will fund three years of expanded work by the TN Dept. of Education in the area of “guided pathways”—programs and policies that help high- and middle-school students make earlier, better and more-intentional choices about aligning their studies with their post-high-school plans. The new Phase II grant, one of only ten awarded by CCSSO, will help Tennessee build on work started in 2016 after our state and 24 others were each awarded a six-month, $100,000 Phase I NSFY planning grant.
TBR Director of Policy & Research Cassie Foote represented the business community as a member of the state/non-profit team which traveled to Washington, D.C. in October 2016 to present Tennessee’s case for the grant. “I was pleased to represent the business community with such a dedicated team of partners and look forward to continuing the work of creating an increasingly educated, prepared workforce,” said Cassie. “As the Dept. of Education’s business community partner on the NSFY team, TBR provides key support to our state as it drives toward its guided pathways goal: to transform, lead, and sustain a high-quality, demand-driven, rigorous, and accountable system of career preparation for all young people in our state.”
The NSFY Phase II grant will now fuel advanced work by Tennessee on career readiness, including development of what Tennessee’s successful grant application termed “demand-driven, employer-led processes” to usher students productively into—and through—their early post-secondary years. Goals and tasks of the new work could include:
- developing an “education map” to identify misalignments between educational offerings and priority industry sectors;
- increasing rigor in career pathways; and
- making sure Tennessee students graduate with skills and certifications that are relevant and industry-valued.