Educating the Workforce of Tomorrow Fall 2017 - Page 8

According to regional estimates, STEM is the fifth-fastest growing occupational cluster in the South and the seventh-largest employment sector, with projections of 2.6 million total workers by 2020. [13] STEM jobs are central to Tennessee’s economic growth, offering high-paying jobs that enable graduates to launch a career and a life. [14] Early Postsecondary Opportunities In 2015, Congress replaced the No Child Left Behind Act with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)–a new federal law grounded in the work Tennessee has been leading—giving states more flexibility and responsibility to improve student achievement. To meet ESSA requirements, Tennessee developed a plan with input from thousands of Tennesseans that emphasizes improving student readiness EPSOs – A Closer Look EPSOs provide students the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school, develop the confidence and skills necessary for success in postsecondary, and decrease the time and cost of completing a certificate of degree. EPSO options include: for postsecondary education and careers by giving all • Advanced Placement students more challenging coursework. • College Level Examination Programs • Dual Enrollment • Industry Certification As part of this plan, Tennessee created a Ready Graduate • International Baccalaureate indicator for high schools and school districts to assess how • Local and Statewide Dual Credit many students are ready for college, the military, or the workforce. Tennessee’s school and district accountability Percent of Students Enrolled in Early Postsecondary Opportunities, By Income Level system will include a Ready Graduate indicator. [15] Students can achieve what Tennessee has defined as 100% readiness in a variety of ways. A Tennessee student will be 80% considered ready for college and career upon graduating 60% high school within four years and achieving one of the following: 56% 29% 40% 20% Medium & high income • Scoring a 21 or higher on the ACT Low income • Completing four early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs), such as earning college credit in high school Source: Tennessee Department of Education, 2017 • Completing two early postsecondary opportunities and earning an industry certification • Completing two early postsecondary opportunities and meeting or exceeding the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) or Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) EDUCATING THE WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW 7 Postsecondary And Career Readiness In Tennessee