$2M in Perkins Reserve Grant Awards To Be Shared With 38 School Districts

Photo Credit: Tennessee Department of Education

Published June 10, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

On Wednesday, June 9, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the Perkins Reserve Grant. The $2 million dollar grant will be spread out over 38 school districts in the state to support technical and career education.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

It is a competitive opportunity made possible because of federal Perkins V legislation that was passed in 2018. 

According to TDOE, it was redesigned in 2020 to “foster local innovation and support implementation of CTE programs and career pathways, especially in more rural areas, aligned with regionally identified high skill, high wage, and/or in-demand occupations or industries.”

The four-year plan, Strengthening Career and Technical Education, also aligns with the Best for All plan to create more career-related opportunities for students. 

38 school districts will receive the grant for the 2021-2020 school year. 

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Commissioner Penny Schwinn said, “Tennessee is continuing to focus on career and technical education to boost student readiness and postsecondary success, and the Perkins Reserve Grant awards help support this work, especially in our rural districts. These grant awards will ensure districts, schools, and partners can continue coming together to help expand CTE opportunities for all students.”

Recipients were asked to send in applications to showcase programs, initiatives, and strategies to help students succeed when searching for career pathways. 

Some of the districts benefiting from the PRG are Rutherford County, Wilson County, Madison County, and Lenoir City. 

Tyra Pilgrim, the CTE Director for Rutherford said, “Thanks to the Perkins Reserve Grants, Rutherford County Schools’ students will benefit from additional opportunities and support around career and technical education through industry certifications and CTE equipment, which is so essential to helping prepare them for future postsecondary and career success. We appreciate the commitment of the Tennessee Department of Education to this critical work and keeping our state focused on education, skill, and workforce development.”

Department of Education staff members from the Division of College, Career and Technical Education, and partners from the Board of Regents, reviewed the applications. 

Applications had to focus on a priority area laid out in the state plan, and Regional Career Pathways included workforce partnerships. 

Renny Whittenbarger, the CTE Director for Cleveland City Schools, and the President of the Tennessee Directors of Career and Technical Education said these opportunities are vital in helping students succeed. 

“We have only a brief period of time as educators and educational leaders to instill values, knowledge, and wisdom in our Tennessee students and it’s crucial we make every opportunity count. The department and our leaders in Tennessee CTE realize the importance of the skills our students need to expand our workforce locally, regionally, and statewide,” Whittenbarger said. “The Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee state Perkins plan is constructed in a manner where all students will have the opportunity to gain those necessary skills to prove, once again, that Tennessee is leading the nation in education, skill, and workforce development.”

Alcoa City, Bradley County, Bristol Tennessee City, Greene County, and Oak Ridge City are some of the districts receiving Regional Career Pathways Awards. 

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