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Tennessee Pathways

Tennessee Pathways logo

Tennessee Pathways is the newest initiative under Tennessee’s Drive to 55. The Drive to 55 was created to ensure at least 55 percent of Tennesseans have a college degree or certificate by 2025 and can access more career opportunities in their communities across the state. Tennessee Pathways supports alignment among K-12, postsecondary, and industry to provide students with relevant education and training to jumpstart their postsecondary degrees and credentials. Students, with their certificate, degree or credential, can transition seamlessly into the workforce and contribute to the success of our economy.

How does Tennessee Pathways work?

We believe that all students should have the knowledge and skills to seamlessly transition to postsecondary and high-quality careers. Tennessee Pathways is structured around three key elements:

  • high-quality college and career advisement throughout K-12;
  • rigorous early postsecondary and work-based learning opportunities in high school; and
  • seamless vertical alignment between K-12, postsecondary programs, and career opportunities as a result of effective partnerships among school districts, higher education institutions, employers, and community organizations.
Tennessee Pathways framework: education & training; certificate, credential, or degree; and career opportunities.

Regional Pathways Coordinators

Tennessee Pathways regional coordinators will operate in the nine economic regions of the state to lead the alignment of local education institutions and employers. Regional coordinators act as the “glue” between school districts, postsecondary institutions, employers, and community leaders facilitating communication and collaboration. Coordinators will create cross-sector committees of stakeholders within regions, lead regional strategic planning, facilitate partnership agreements across sectors, and extend the capacity of local school districts and their partners to create seamless pathways for students. Regional coordinators will be hired in the early fall of 2018.

Tennessee Pathways regional coordinators operate in each of the nine economic regions of the state.

Tennessee Pathways Certification

As a key component of Tennessee Pathways, our vision is for every high school in the state to offer certified Tennessee Pathways. A certified Tennessee Pathway is a high school program of study and/or elective focus that leads to multiple high-quality postsecondary opportunities or industry credential(s). The department will launch the Tennessee Pathways Certification during the 2018-19 academic year.

Tennessee Pathways Designation

The Tennessee Pathways Designation is meant to reward and recognize exemplary school districts across the state for expanding equitable access, advisement, and preparation for certified Tennessee Pathways. Districts must have certified Tennessee Pathways in place in order to earn the designation. In addition to recognizing deserving schools, the purpose of the designation is to:

●       give districts a roadmap for aligning academic preparation to college and career expectations,

●       provide quality student advisement at all grade levels,

●       partner with employers and postsecondary institutions to expand early college and career experiences, and

●       increase the number of students obtaining credentials that lead to high-quality careers.

The department will launch the Tennessee Pathways Designation and name the first cohort of district designees in the 2019-20 academic year.  Learn more about the certification and designation process here.

How can I get involved?

To learn more about Tennessee Pathways, follow us on Twitter @TN_Pathways, or contact