Lee announces effort to expand vocational, technical training access

Johnson City Press • Feb 5, 2019 at 1:41 PM

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced his first legislative initiative aimed at expanding vocational and technical training for students on Tuesday. 

Called the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education, or GIVE, the initiative is a two-pronged approach that utilizes regional partnerships to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities, according to a press release from Lee’s office. 

“I believe that expanding our vocational and technical offerings will be transformational for Tennesseans and the future of our state,” Lee said.

“We have the opportunity to help students discover quality career paths and gain skills that are needed right now in the workforce by emphasizing career and technical education.”

Lee said the program will give communities the funding and flexibility to build programs tailored to local needs and work directly in the private industry to structure programming. 

Specifically, the GIVE initiative will also provide funding for high school juniors and seniors to participate in four, fully-funded duel enrollment credits for trade and technical programs. 

Previously, high school students only had access to two fully-funded dual enrollment credits. 

“With GIVE, there is now a framework in place to partner with the private sector in addressing gaps in our workforce,” Lee said. “This initiative also puts students in charge of their future by preparing them for a good job right out of high school.”

Two grant programs, GIVE Community Grants and GIVE Student Grants, will fund the effort. 

“Using the framework of the state’s Labor Education Alignment Program (LEAP), the governor will recommend new funding in support of work-based learning through GIVE Community Grants,” the press release from Lee’s office stated. 

“These competitive grants will go to regional partnerships between TCATs, industry, and K-12 to build new programs in work-based learning and apprenticeships, market-driven, dual-credit opportunities, and the expansion of industry-informed CTE offerings at local high schools.” 

The GIVE Student Grants will funded through the Tennessee Lottery and will support expanded access to dual enrollment. 

“It is time to make sure education in Tennessee embraces multiple pathways to success. We believe GIVE is a key step for the future of our kids and ensuring we can fill the jobs of tomorrow,” Lee said. 

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