Governor Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative Impacts Nearly 400,000 Tennessee Students & 2,000+ Educators

Thursday, November 18, 2021 | 02:53pm


CTE & STEM Focused Initiative Making Significant Statewide Impact 

Nashville, TN - Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) released the 2020-21 Tennessee’s Future Workforce Initiative Impact Report, highlighting the significant impact career and technical education, computer science, and STEM has made on students and educators across the state. 

In 2019, Governor Bill Lee announced the Future Workforce Initiative to increase science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) training in K-12 schools. The initiative aims to put Tennessee in the top 25 states for creating technology jobs through launching new Career and Technical Education (CTE), Computer Science (CS), and STEM-focused programs in public schools. In 2020-21, this initiative impacted 393,483 students and 2,271 teachers reaching 86% of Tennessee counties.

“Through Governor Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative, Tennessee has increased access to career and technical education for K-12 students and prioritized STEM training to benefit hundreds of thousands of students and educators across the state,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are thrilled by the dedication of our districts, schools, and partners like the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network that support this work and most importantly, we’re proud of our students who are doing what it takes to be prepared for the jobs of the future.” 

To advance STEM learning, including CS, in K-12 public schools the department has partnered with TSIN to establish statewide wrap around supports and programming focused on three areas of emphasis:

  • Targeted STEM Expansion: Programming and wrap-around support that assists Tennessee educators and communities in expanding STEM teaching and learning for all students.
  • Career Exploration and Advising: Enhancing the career exploration toolkit for grades 6-12 through two statewide web portals that provide an interest assessment, a deep dive into the 16 CCTE career clusters, digital resume building, and opportunities to apply for entry-level jobs.
  • Computer Science: Alternative licensure pathways for teachers will be created in addition to CS integration models that provide replicable frameworks for TN schools and districts.

Within each of these priority areas, teacher training in STEM pedagogy, classroom resources, and interactive student platforms and materials are provided at no cost to K-12 schools and districts. This work creates flexible opportunities for increased engagement in STEM, career exploration and advising, and CS. 

“The Future Workforce Initiative ensures that educators, students, and communities, have access to meaningful STEM learning opportunities. The support systems provided through this partnership make a significant difference in shifting the learning experience for so many across the state by increasing the entry-points to STEM, including Computer Science, for all learners,” said Brandi Stroecker, TSIN Director.

Upcoming priorities for this initiative include creating STEM education supports specifically for rural communities, replicable CS integration pilot models, and expanded career and exploration platforms that lead to local job placement for students. 

The 2020-21 Tennessee’s Future Workforce Initiative Impact Report includes impact data, teacher stories, and priorities on the horizon.  If you’d like more information on participating in the programs or supports listed in this report, please reach out to TSIN – or visit

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact