With support from our postsecondary partners, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville and Roane State Community College, as well as the McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Oak Ridge Schools received $200,000.00 in grant funding to increase student skills in aviation careers from the competitive Perkins Reserve Grant process. The focus of this application was to articulate the study of aviation careers from middle school, to high school, to postsecondary. With these funds, we will: purchase drone and glider kits to teach our students to design, build, and fly unmanned aircraft; purchase flight simulators for each middle and high school so students can learn basic piloting skills; and purchase a full-size aircraft kit for the high school for students to design, build, and then incorporate an automotive engine. Staff who teach these courses will be offered tours of programs who have implemented successful aviation programs in partnership with their local airports, and PD opportunities for sustaining the learning initiative. A highlight of the initiative will include collaborative opportunities for staff and students in our career exploration, STEM, welding, and automotive/aviation courses across the board from middle school to postsecondary.

The full list of recipients and the broader scope of this competitive process is below.

NASHVILLE, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the US Department of Education has approved the state’s plan, Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee, which will provide $110 million over four years in federal funds to implement CTE at the K-12 and postsecondary levels in Tennessee. The department also announced more than $3 million in Perkins Reserve Grants to 44 school districts for the 2020-21 school year.

Tennessee is required by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) to submit a state plan for CTE implementation. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee Plan expands equitable access to comprehensive CTE across the education to workforce pipeline, including in the early and middle grades, increases participation in high-quality and aligned career pathways and work-based learning experiences, and supports the attainment of relevant certificates, credentials, and/or degrees needed to meet the workforce demands of Tennessee.

The plan fully aligns with the department’s current strategic plan, Best for All, with a vision to expand opportunities for all students to explore, choose, and follow a career pathway to success.

“Every student deserves the opportunity to graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful, whatever pathway they choose. Tennessee’s Perkins V Plan will help our districts and education leaders expand access to high quality learning experiences for more students, like work-based learning, STEM programming, and opportunities to earn certifications and credentials even before graduating,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “By strengthening CTE in Tennessee, we are not only investing in our students—we are preparing the future workforce of our state.”

The majority of the federal funds will be awarded to eligible K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions through a non-competitive, population-based allocation and application, also known as the Perkins Basic. Additional details about the Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee state plan can be found on the Tennessee Department of Education’s website.

“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,” said Renny Whittenbarger, CTE Director in Cleveland City Schools and President of the Tennessee Directors of Career and Technical Education. “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.”

The Tennessee plan establishes a clear, aligned vision for CTE, which supports the diverse regions and communities across the state in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Increases local flexibility to develop, implement, and improve CTE programs based on a Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA) of local and regional high skill, high wage, and/or in-demand occupations.
  • Outlines strategies to double the number of students participating in work-based learning and earning the relevant certifications needed to meet workforce demand.
  • Earmarks additional funding for more intensive support for those students who are historically underserved or marginalized, such as individuals with disabilities, individuals from economically disadvantaged families, individuals living in distressed or at-risk areas, formerly incarcerated individuals, and homeless individuals.
  • Provides additional support and resources to expand CTE and STEM programs into early and middle grades.
  • Assists in CTE educator training and development of stronger instructional practices through alternative educator licensing strategies, including the creation of CTE Master Teacher and CTE Director Academy programs.
  • Includes bold new statewide strategies for early postsecondary credit, work ethics, leadership, and employability skill development to improve the quality of the emerging workforce in Tennessee.

Additionally, the Perkins Reserve Grant (PRG) is a competitive grant opportunity made possible through the Perkins V legislation. The PRG opportunity was redesigned under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education in Tennessee State plan to foster local innovation and support implementation of CTE programs and career pathways aligned with regionally identified high skill, high wage, and/or in-demand occupations or industries.

“Today is an exciting day for CTE students and educators in the state of Tennessee. Awarding over three million dollars to support the diverse local and regional needs of our districts has the ability to make a tremendous impact for Career and Technical Education” said Jean Luna, Chief of Programs for the Tennessee Department of Education. “With the newly adopted Perkins V plan, we are able to increase flexibility to extend CTE into early and middle grades, expand work-based learning and industry certifications, extend training for educators, among numerous other opportunities. I’m looking forward to seeing the innovative opportunities and results as a result of this grant funding.”

At the K-12 level for the 2020-21 school year, 44 school districts, representing 39 counties, 15 of which are economically at-risk or distressed, will receive a total of $3,087,625 in PRG awards. The school districts receiving a 2020-21 Perkins Reserve Grant award are:


School District

Secondary Award

Regional Career Pathways Award

Alcoa City Schools $39,823.93 $150,000.00
Bartlett City Schools $50,000.00
Bledsoe County Schools $12,000.00
Bradley County Schools $150,000.00
Bristol Tennessee City Schools $50,000.00 $118,727.00
Cannon County Schools $46,150.00
Carter County Schools $23,133.00
Clay County Schools $50,000.00
Cleveland City Schools $37,074.93
Cocke County Schools $45,000.00
Cumberland County Schools $35,000.00
Davidson County/MNPS $49,950.00
Fayette County Schools $49,467.00
Germantown City Schools $44,520.10
Grainger County Schools $41,892.00
Greene County Schools $38,390.00 $20,000.00
Greeneville City Schools $44,500.00
Grundy County Schools $50,000.00
Hamilton County Schools $50,000.00
Hardeman County Schools $50,000.00
Haywood County Schools $50,000.00
Henry County Schools $50,000.00
Hickman County Schools $50,000.00
Jefferson County Schools $50,000.00
Marion County Schools $35,277.00
Maryville City Schools $165,000.00
Maury County Schools $50,000.00
Meigs County Schools $50,000.00
Oak Ridge City Schools $50,000.00 $150,000.00
Obion County Schools $44,500.00
Overton County Schools $179,771.59
Perry County Schools $40,019.00
Polk County Schools $40,000.00
Putnam County Schools $34,500.00
Robertson County Schools $112,000.00
Rutherford County Schools $35,000.00 $55,000.00
Sequatchie County Schools $50,000.00
Shelby County Schools $70,000.00
Sumner County Schools $175,000.00
Unicoi County Schools $50,000.00
Warren County Schools $50,000.00
Washington County Schools $49,834.96
Wayne County Schools $106,095.00
West Carroll Special School District $50,000.00

Applications were reviewed by a team of TDOE staff from the Division of College, Career and Technical Education and partners from the Tennessee Board of Regents. All applications needed to address at least one of the priority areas of the state plan – ensuring equitable access, aligning career pathways, and/or ensuring high-quality learning experiences, and the Regional Career Pathways application must also include a regionally f