Tennessee Department of Education Awards $15 million for Career and Technical Education Equipment

Thursday, August 03, 2017 | 10:00am

NASHVILLE— Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced today that the state is awarding $15 million in grants to fund new equipment for schools to align their Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to Tennessee's highest demand industry sectors. Nearly 94 percent of districts with high schools will receive funding through the grant program, which was designed to provide necessary equipment to as many Tennessee students as possible.

"As we seek to prepare more students for college and careers – especially in high growth industries, such as advanced manufacturing, health care, and information technology – we must resource our schools to best serve students," McQueen said. "We have a responsibility to provide our students every opportunity in high school to be prepared for the realities and needs of the workforce. With the support of Gov. Haslam and the general assembly, these grants allow us to ensure our students are working on cutting edge technology and equipment that mirrors postsecondary and industry expectations."

The grant awards averaged around $125,000, allowing districts to purchase the unique equipment that they need, ranging from robots to manikins and ambulance simulators. Grant requests were reviewed to ensure the equipment aligned to each district's selected programs of study.

In addition to awarding the CTE Equipment Grants, Commissioner McQueen also announced today that the she is establishing the College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) Transition Advisory Council to provide immediate insight and direction as the state welcomes new leadership to guide our work in postsecondary and career readiness. The state recently announced that Dr. Lyle Ailshie will serve as a new deputy commissioner overseeing the CCTE division and the Teachers and Leaders division, and Casey Haugner Wrenn will step into the role of assistant commissioner for CCTE.

The CCTE Transition Advisory Council includes a broad spectrum of members from industry, career and technical education, and government. The group will meet several times with the commissioner and new CCTE leadership over the coming months to provide feedback on current CCTE work, specificity focusing on the challenges, desires, and barriers to successful implementation.They will also assist the department in setting a unified vision related to the next stage of college, career and technical education.

The CCTE Transition Advisory Council will include the following members:

  • Jeff Aiken, president, Tennessee Farm Bureau
  • John Blakely, CTE director, Scott County Schools
  • Dean Blevins, director, Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Elizabethton
  • John Cagle, CTE director and assistant principal, Jefferson County Schools
  • Jimmy Davis, president, Middle Tennessee Manufacturing Leadership Council, and owner, The Davis Groupe
  • Beth Duffield, senior vice president of education and workforce development, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce
  • Jeff Frazier, dean of the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Eastman Chemical
  • Marc Hill, chief policy officer, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Bradley Jackson, president, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • George Leake, CTE director, Obion County School District
  • Tim Parrott, director of schools, Anderson County Schools
  • Tyra Pilgrim, CTE director, Rutherford County Schools
  • Karen Pitts, CTE director, Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
  • Senator Jim Tracy, Tennessee General Assembly

The transition advisory council will release any recommendations this fall. The first meeting of the advisory council will be on Aug. 31 and will focus on providing insight on CTE work to date and feedback on current postsecondary and career readiness practices.

For more information about the CTE Equipment Grants, please contact Heather Justice, executive director of the office of CTE, at Heather.Justice@tn.gov. For more information on the CCTE Transition Advisory Council, please contact Casey Haugner Wrenn, assistant commissioner for CCTE, at Casey.Haugner@tn.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or (615) 532-6260.