Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced on Thursday that Tennessee was one of five awardees to receive a grant for just under $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Education’s office of career, technical, and adult education to support career and technical education (CTE) teacher pipelines.
The funding will support the department’s Experienced Professionals in the Classroom (EPIC) project that seeks to improve recruitment, preparation, and retention of effective CTE educators. The grant will focus on Tennessee’s in-demand industry sectors of advanced manufacturing, health science, and information technology to build flexible options for districts to be able to entice experienced professionals into CTE classrooms.
“To ensure that our students are equipped with the skills and knowledge for future success, we must provide all students access to highly effective educators, especially in our career and technical education classrooms,” said Commissioner McQueen. “With this grant, we will be able to provide more Tennessee students with access to high-quality educators in fields that are aligned with local and state workforce needs.”
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Education announced this new grant opportunity to address state and local shortages of high school CTE teachers called the High School Career and Technical Education Teacher Pathway Initiative (CTE-TPI). This new initiative is intended to improve CTE programs assisted under the Perkins Act by increasing the supply of high school CTE teachers in communities where shortages of such teachers exist. From thirty-two applications submitted, Tennessee was chosen as one of five recipients for the grant, which will be funded over a three-year period.
To meet the goals of the grant, the department’s EPIC project will explore several unique pathways including partnering with Rutherford County Schools to develop a district led educator preparation program and partnering with a community college to pilot a cost effective associate degree allowing more industry experts to transition to serve in the classroom. Additionally, to build a stronger CTE educator pipeline, the department will work with districts to pilot co-teaching models with industry partners to provide rural districts areas access to high quality CTE instruction. The department will also work with districts to develop partnerships to pilot “Grow Your Own” CTE educator programs.
In order to carry out this work and implement the EPIC project, the department is working with the following partners:
- Tennessee State Board of Education
- Tennessee Higher Education Commission
- Tennessee Board of Regents
- Rutherford County Schools
- Tennessee Business Roundtable
- Tennessee Department of Labor
- Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Federal funding for the grant will provide 58 percent of the total cost for the program, providing $899,700.32 toward the EPIC project. The additional 42 percent of the project cost will be provided through matching funds from state sources, Carl D. Perkins funds, and local sources.
For more information on the EPIC project or the CTE-TPI, contact Kesha DeJarnett, director of talent improvement, at Kesha.DeJarnett@tn.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or (615) 532-6260.