Talent Dividend Work

Knoxville academies prepare high school students for careers

Related Tags

Unlocking the potential of young people is the mission of the educational system, but the educational system doesn't reach everyone. Some young people have great capacity to achieve, but don't connect to traditional desk-lecture-textbook-test learning. Those students need hands-on lessons that are relevant to the real world and connect the dots from concepts learned in the classroom to career choices.

The Knoxville Chamber is hoping to reach those students with a proposed system of career academies. Jennifer Evans, vice president for public policy at the Knoxville Chamber, is working with their local school district to create a series of career and technical education academies that will be housed in local community colleges. If approved by the school board, these academies will focus on four in-demand career areas: advanced manufacturing, pre-education, homeland security, and sustainable living.

"Getting a hands-on education is helpful to engage them in academics and also in keeping their attention by putting it in the context of a project," Evans says.
These schools break the stereotypes surrounding career education. They are rigorous and aimed at preparing people for sustainable, well-paying careers when they graduate from high school. Because students will be on a community college campus, they will have the opportunity to graduate with at least 13 and as many as 22 credits towards an associate's degree. That puts graduates at an advantage if they choose to continue their education at a two-year or four-year school, although the schools will be designed for career readiness upon graduation.

The four areas of concentration were chosen in consultation with the business community, Evans says. They reflect the needs employers expect to have in the next several years and that are currently difficult to meet.
"When kids are actually entering the workforce, employers will see this as a go-to place for workers," Evans says.

Visit here for a complete list of Knoxville Chamber education initiatives.

Source: Jennifer Evans, Knoxville Chamber
Writer: Amy Kuras

Signup for Email Alerts
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts