NASHVILLE—Today, state leaders announced that Tennessee has been named as one of 10 states to receive a $2 million grant to build on locally led initiatives that will strengthen and expand education-to-career learning pathways for Tennessee’s students. The grant is through the New Skills for Youth program, which is supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and JPMorgan Chase & Co.


This funding, which will be distributed over the next three years, is aimed at strengthening career-focused education starting in middle school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with high-skill jobs, so students will be equipped and able to support themselves and their families after graduation.


“In Tennessee we know that education isn’t K through 12, it’s K through—kindergarten to job. Through our Drive to 55 to equip 55 percent of Tennesseans with a college degree or certificate, we’re focused on getting students ready for college, into college, out of college and tying their education directly to workforce needs, and we’re seeing incredible results,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “We appreciate this investment from the Council of Chief State School Officers and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to continue our work to make sure Tennessee students are job ready.”


“Our work in K-12 education is to prepare students for success beyond our classrooms, and Tennessee is fully committed to strengthening postsecondary and workforce readiness for all students,” McQueen said. “Funding from this grant will allow us to expand opportunities for students to access early postsecondary opportunities that can equip them for jobs and open doors for them as they graduate from high school, particularly in rural or economically distressed areas and in expanding industries. The grant will also better equip our state to invest more in research and analysis to ensure we are learning from what works and using evidence-based practices to drive students’ success.”


Tennessee has received the grant from the New Skills for Youth initiative after a rigorous review process, which included examination of Tennessee’s plan to support career preparedness education programs. Tennessee’s plan included providing regional expansion grants to new areas and industries, incentive grants to encourage innovation and the adoption of promising practices, and continuing our focus on research analyses to drive stronger practices and programs, leading to more students on course for success.


“Because Tennessee is a leader in creating career pathways for our students, JPMorgan Chase is proud to support and advance the great work that’s taking place in our state,” said John Morris, head of Private Banking for JPMorgan Chase in Tennessee. “Helping our young people gain the work skills they need will transform lives and strengthen our state’s economy.”


This new grant allows Tennessee to build upon and scale the work started through funding from a smaller, Phase I grant awarded last year. In March 2016, Tennessee received a $100,000 grant from CCSSO and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to pilot long-term career readiness education programs that align with the needs of Tennessee employers. In total, 24 states and the District of Columbia received Phase I grants. The grant awarded today represents the second phase of the New Skills for Youth initiative, which provides 10 of the original 24 recipients with funding to execute the career-readiness plans they developed during the first phase.