As employers across the state of Tennessee continue to project a shortage of qualified workers, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry has identified the need for a new system that will make career awareness and preparation more seamless for students, parents, employers, and educators. Therefore, the Chamber has partnered with other experienced education and workforce organizations to offer a career-based curriculum for educators that illustrate localized career-focused pathways for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
This newest offering, coined the Tennessee Career Awareness & Preparation System (or “TN-CAPS”), will offer a long-term solution to the workforce “skills gap” by providing localized, demand-driven, student-centered resources. This portal will enable teachers to connect students with the needs of local businesses—and businesses to connect with students—in more meaningful ways, said officials.
Teachers will be able to download classroom-ready, age-appropriate lesson plans that illustrate the tasks common to careers that local businesses desire, and then link to actual local businesses near the specific school.
Bradley Jackson, TN Chamber CEO said, “At the Chamber we continue to hear of the lack of qualified and prepared candidates for jobs in our state from our most prominent employers. We believe the TN-CAPS system will address this by providing great ways for teachers to easily link what they are doing in the classroom with regionally available careers and allow students to gain exposure to the local companies filling that future workforce pipeline."
Chattanooga-based Thinking Media is developing the new system that the Chamber will implement. Thinking Media has created e-Learning tools for more than 20 years that address workforce skill gaps and to expand interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and CS (Computer Science) careers. Thinking Media brands include Learning Blade, an interactive STEM and Computer Science career awareness toolbox, and both KeyTrain and Career Ready 101, now owned by ACT, Inc. as a part of its WorkKeys Employment System.
The TN-CAPS program is being offered through the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with regional chambers as a service to Chamber members to strengthen the viability of local businesses and to aid in regional and statewide workforce development. The Tennessee Chamber plans to recruit businesses and schools to selected pilot locations across the state this winter, with the intent to launch statewide in all nine economic regions during the fall of 2020.