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TDOE Awards $2.2 Million to Support Creation of Career Pathways

Wednesday, June 06, 2018 | 12:18pm

NASHVILLE – Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has announced that 88 school districts and one postsecondary institution in Tennessee have received a total of $2.2 million through the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant. This new grant application for the 2018-19 school year combines funding streams from the Perkins Reserve Grant, the department’s New Skills for Youth (NSFY) grant, and the Experienced Professionals in the Classroom (EPIC) project to support the implementation of high-quality career pathways for Tennessee students. For the first time, districts could complete one application to be considered for these multiple grant opportunities.

“All Tennessee students deserve to have career preparation that lead to high-quality employment after graduation and continue to prioritize this work at the department,” McQueen said. “Through the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant, we are able to provide funding for programs as we work to ensure that more students are prepared to earn postsecondary credentials and are equipped with the skills they will need to be successful in their future careers.”

The Perkins Reserve Grant had five focus areas that each receives funding, including one focus area only available to community colleges that are members of the Tennessee Board of Regents. Additional funds associated with this grant will continue to provide current industry equipment to support new CTE programs in advanced manufacturing, health science, and agriculture. Furthermore, nearly $900,000 will support students earning industry-recognized certifications. The remaining funds were awarded to districts across the focus areas of:

  • work-based learning,
  • equipment to support career and technical education programs of study,
  • instructor licensure or testing site accreditation to support student capstone industry certifications,
  • exam fee assistance for student capstone industry certifications, and
  • development of an associate degree occupational educator preparation program at a community college (through the department’s EPIC project). 

An initiative of J.P. Morgan Chase, the NSFY grant focuses on increasing the number of students who are prepared for careers in high-demand, high-wage jobs in their communities and across the state. The department awarded NSFY grants to districts to create or expand structural alignment between school districts, postsecondary partners, and employers that reduces the barriers for students earning a credential and preparing for careers. The NSFY grants focused on the following three priorities and awarded nearly half a million dollars across six districts:

  • college and career advisement for all students,
  • early college and career preparation opportunities for all students, and
  • postsecondary and industry partnerships with K-12.

Through the EPIC project, the department will assist Motlow State Community College in the development of a degree-granting occupational educator preparation program. This program will create new, reduced cost options for individuals interested in becoming Career and Technical Education (CTE) educators. Additionally, because the program would be degree-granting, this opportunity will allow prospective CTE educators without an associate or bachelor’s degree to apply for a Tennessee Reconnect grant to receive financial assistance and advising. Ultimately, with more high-quality CTE educators, more Tennessee students will be prepared for both college and career.

Complete information about all grant opportunities can be found in the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant announcement. A full list of award recipients can be found here. For more information about the Perkins Reserve Consolidated Grant, contact Bobby Sanborn, executive director of finance and reporting, at For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at (615) 532-6260 or