Tennessee Dept. of Education Awards Perkins Grants Totaling $2.9M

Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Education

Press Release –

The Tennessee Department of Education announced $2.9 million in Perkins Reserve Grants to 44 school districts for the 2022-23 school year to support career and technical education (CTE) across the state.

The Perkins Reserve Grant (PRG) is a competitive grant opportunity made possible through the federal Perkins V legislation passed in 2018. In 2020, the PRG grant opportunity was redesigned under the four-year Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee state plan 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.

During the month of July, the department is celebrating Innovative School Models, which are aligned to the programs funded through the Perkins Reserve Grant Awards by eliminating structural barriers that exist between middle and high school, workforce, and postsecondary opportunities. These models allow students the ability to seamlessly make connections earlier and graduate high school prepared to successfully complete a postsecondary credential or excel in a career pathway of their choice.

“Across the state, districts are focusing on innovating in career and technical education to boost student readiness and access to postsecondary opportunities, and the Perkins Reserve Grant awards help support this important work,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “These grant awards provide avenues to build upon and create partnerships between districts, schools and community organizations to expand innovative CTE opportunities for all students.”

Districts are eligible to apply for a Secondary Grant and/or Regional Career Pathways Grant, which are included in the Perkins Reserve Grant funds provided to states. The 44 Tennessee school districts receiving a 2022-23 Perkins Reserve Grant award are:

Alcoa City Schools
Breaking down barriers to increase industry certification attainment

Alvin C. York Institute
Modernizing school farm equipment to mirror post-secondary and workforce equipment

Bartlett City Schools
Providing STEM pathways in coding, cyber security, drones, engineering design, and robotics

Bedford County Schools

Establishing a new, innovative cosmetology learning salon at Community High School

Setting up a new special program of study in Aviation Maintenance at Shelbyville Central High School

Bledsoe County Schools
Increasing valuable in demand industry certifications

Bristol City Schools
Adding new programs of study in agriculture, collision repair, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP) to expand opportunities for all students

Cannon County Schools

Innovative STEM cross-curricular workspace

Carter County Schools
Modernizing welding pathways with industry standard equipment and advancing early postsecondary opportunities (EPSO) opportunities

Cocke County Schools
Investing in work-based learning partnerships and increasing work experience opportunities for students

DeKalb County Schools
Introducing a new mechatronics technology program of study

Fentress County Schools
Middle school to high school career exploration and expansion of EPSOs

Grainger County Schools
Investing in grades 6-12 career exploration through a district career coach

Greene County Schools 
Extension of engineering program of study to provide curriculum and industry certifications

Hamblen County Schools
New culinary arts program of study equipment

Hardin County Schools


Investing in air quality for welding students with new state of the art welding booths

Hawkins County Schools
School based enterprise providing wireless internet service to eliminate barriers to student success

Houston County Schools
Increasing work-based learning opportunities through school-based enterprises

Huntingdon Special School District
Environmental Learning Lab for more interactive engagement

Jackson County Schools
Investment into advanced manufacturing equipment and EPSOs

Jefferson County Schools
Conversion to a new industrial maintenance program of study

Johnson City Schools
Creating a new School Based Enterprise, “Mercantile Store and Café”

Kingsport City Schools
Increasing EPSOs through new advanced manufacturing equipment and industry certification opportunities

Lewis County Schools
Drone technology and industry certifications for multiple programs of study

Macon County Schools 
Optimizing alignment of industry certifications and high wage, in demand, and high skilled programs of study and career pathways

McMinn County Schools
Meeting regional postsecondary and industry needs through enhanced advanced manufacturing programs of study

McNairy County Schools

Expanding opportunities in automotive maintenance, light repair

Expanding opportunities in advanced manufacturing and EPSOs

Meigs County Schools
Developing and implementing a new mechatronics program of study

Milan Special School District 
Creation of a STEM makerspace for project-based learning opportunities

Oak Ridge Schools 
Expanding EPSO opportunities through post-secondary partnerships in welding

Obion County Schools
Transitioning to a new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing program of study

Perry County Schools 
Increasing health science opportunities by adding a new emergency services program of study

Putnam County Schools

Increasing industry certification opportunities in all high wage, high skilled, and in demand programs of study

Creation of a new mobile career exploration lab, “JACEE, Jobs and Career Exploration for Everyone”

Rutherford County Schools 
New audio-visual program of study and providing Informational technology industry certifications to students

Sequatchie County Schools 
New equipment for Construction Lab to improve career exploration opportunities and increase industry certifications

South Carroll Special School District
Implementation of a new STEM program of study

Sullivan County Schools
Providing curriculum to create pre-apprenticeship opportunities

Tipton County Schools

Strengthening the Food Science Pathway with the implementation of a Food Science Lab

Creation of the “Farm Fresh Center”, a marketing and distribution center for multiple programs of study

Trenton Special School District
School Based Enterprise, “STEMsthetics,” implementation

Tullahoma City Schools
Expansion of welding program of study to increase postsecondary and career pathway opportunities

Van Buren County Schools
Increasing opportunities in industry certification attainment

Warren County Schools
Expanding career exploration in grades 5-8 and 10-12 to increase EPSO opportunities

Wayne County Schools
Career coach to develop and increase partnerships between postsecondary and Work Based Learning opportunities

White County Schools
Students Today . . . . . Teachers Tomorrow, innovative teaching as a Profession lab and increased industry certification attainment

Wilson County Schools
Enhancing the Emergency Medical Responder program of study with equipment and new EPSO opportunities

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This year’s Perkins Reserve Grant recipients submitted applications for programs, initiatives, and strategies that help to foster innovation by identifying and promoting CTE programs, practices, and strategies to prepare individuals for nontraditional fields. Some applicants sought funding to provide drone technology and industry credentials for multiple programs, new culinary arts equipment for students, and a STEM makerspace for project-based opportunities. Other applicants focused on creating a school-based enterprise offering wireless internet service to eliminate barriers to student success and modernizing welding with industry standard equipment.  

Applications were reviewed by a team of TDOE staff from the Division of College, Career and Technical Education. All applications needed to address at least one of the state plan’s priority areas—ensuring equitable access, aligning career pathways, and/or ensuring high-quality learning experiences. The Regional Career Pathways application also needed to include a regionally focused secondary and postsecondary or workforce partnership. 

More information on the Perkins Reserve Grant may be found here.

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