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Free Middle & High School Curriculum Options Provide Students with Career-Focused Content & Activities 

NASHVILLE, TN & WOODBURY, TN — Today, the Tennessee Department of Education and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) announced districts, educators, and students now have free access to expanded career exploration and advising materials and resources through two new online platforms offering students the opportunity to navigate career pathways, engage in hands-on projects, and explore internships and careers available across the state.  

In alignment with Governor Bill Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative, Tennessee is creating a suite of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career awareness tools that will equip teachers with resources to help them prepare students for in-demand career fields.   

“We want to help all students across the state build awareness of the types of careers available in their communities because we want to help our home-grown talent — our students—find life-long success right here in Tennessee,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Thanks to partners like TSIN, educators will now have access to free resources and materials aligned to Tennessee’s in-demand career opportunities to not only help ensure students can plan for their futures earlier on in their education, but also help them land those internships and job opportunities that we know build important skills needed in the workplace.”  

To help ensure students are ready for success after high school graduation, Tennessee is making investments in resources that help ensure Tennessee’s middle and high school students are aware of the 16 College and Career Technical Education (CCTE) career clusters (opens in a new window) with job prospects across the state. 

Defined Careers (opens in a new window) is a starting point for schools and districts choosing to utilize the platform. Students in grades 6-12 will complete an interest assessment and explore the 16 CCTE Career Clusters by completing performance tasks. Defined Careers has 79 career pathways and 450+ career-focused, hands-on projects across the 16 career clusters, which will help students identify their strengths and explore jobs that may best fit their academic and career interests.

Through Elevate Tennessee (opens in a new window), a partnership program between the department, TSIN and Battelle, all students in grades 8-12 can dive deeper by guiding students as they build a digital resume, earn industry-recognized badges, and connect with local employers. Specifically, Elevate Tennessee provides students with job-shadowing and internship experiences, career exploration, and a digital resume portfolio developed around local employer needs. Employers can list current job openings and internships as well as identify how they would like to engage with the K-12 educational community through the employer dashboard feature.

“As a state, STEM education’s greatest potential will only be met if every student can access teachers trained in STEM pedagogy, career-based learning tools and resources, and early postsecondary STEM opportunities – regardless of location,” said Brandi Stroecker, Director of TSIN. “The programs provided through the Future Workforce Initiative are an essential investment for Tennessee schools and districts. We appreciate Governor Lee’s continued support and are encouraged by the powerful results this work is having on quality STEM/STE(A)M learning opportunities for students across the state.” 

“With Defined Careers, students in Tennessee will have the opportunity to choose from hundreds of careers to experience via project-based learning throughout their middle and high school years,” said Andy Schaefer, President of Defined Learning. “These real-world projects will help students gain an understanding of the jobs they would be performing as professionals, helping fuel their post-graduation decisions.  We are excited to partner with TSIN and TDOE to provide these opportunities to the next generation of STEM leaders in Tennessee.” 

Cannon County Schools has been fortunate to receive the Regional Pathways Grant totaling $200,000 with a focus on Middle Grades CTE integration as well as a STEM initiative for both the high school and middle grades 6-8, said Crystal Kennedy, Career and Technical Education Director for Cannon County Schools. This grant funding not only made available valuable equipment and resources but has also enabled us to hire a full-time teacher to travel to all six K-8 schools to bring CTE and career exploration to our middle grade students.  Utilizing these funds along with the free resources provided from organizations like TSIN, we hope to better prepare the youth of Cannon County for careers of the future. 

Schools and teachers can reach out to tsin@battelle.org (opens in a new window) for questions on how to set up accounts. Learn more about Defined Careers and Elevate Tennessee here (opens in a new window).

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, email edu.mediainquiries@tn.gov. (opens in a new window) 

For local media inquiries, please contact Mr. William F. Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools at (629) 201-4801 Extension 10101 or at williamf.curtis@ccstn.net (opens in a new window) for local Cannon County Schools information.

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