Lee unveils ‘Future Workforce Initiative’

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks to a Chamber of Commerce event in Memphis on Dec. 6, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s office unveiled a Future Workforce Initiative to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) education training in K-12 schools.

Here’s the full release from Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the Future Workforce Initiative to increase science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training in K-12 schools as part of his first-year legislative agenda for education.

“Our agenda advocates for increased access to career and technical education for K-12 students and a key part of this includes prioritizing STEM training,” said Lee. “The Future Workforce Initiative is a direct response to the emerging technology industry and making sure our students are first in line to be qualified for technology jobs.”

This investment in STEM-focused early college and career experiences supports the Tennessee Department of Education’s “Tennessee Pathways” Certification process, as well as the STEM School Designation partnership with groups like Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and Code.org.

The Future Workforce Initiative aims to put Tennessee in the top 25 states for job creation in the technology sector by 2022 through three areas of emphasis including:

  1. Launching new CTE programs focused in STEM fields with 100 new middle school programs and tripling the number of STEM-designated public schools by 2022.
  2. Growing the number of teachers qualified to teach work-based learning and advanced computer science courses through STEM teacher training and implementation of K-8 computer science standards.
  3. Expanding postsecondary STEM opportunities in high school through increased access to dual credit, AP courses and dual-enrollment.

“58 percent of all STEM jobs created in the country are in computing but only 8 percent of graduates study computer science in college,” said Lee. “By exposing Tennessee students to computer science in their K-12 careers we are ensuring our kids have every chance to land a high-quality job.”

In his presentation to the legislature, the Governor will recommend a $4 million investment to implement the Future Workforce Initiative.

“I look forward to working closely with the legislature to ensure every student has access to a high-quality career, and to get there we’ll need to make STEM education a reality for students across Tennessee,” said Lee.

8 Responses to Lee unveils ‘Future Workforce Initiative’

  • John W. Niven Jr says:

    FABULOUS !!!!! BRAVO !!!!!!!!

  • James White says:

    How about Reading Writing and Arithmetic ?

  • Norma Shirk says:

    Emphasizing STEM classes for K-12 is necessary. But what about all the workers who need to be retrained after automation takes away their current, soon to be former, jobs? Throwing money at training/retraining the current workforce would be truly wonderful.

    • James White says:

      Why do you think it is the STATE’s job (my money) to re-train you?

      • MarLE says:

        When we stop using the state’s (Mine and yours) money to supplement low income with medicaid (half of all dollars paid by the state) and stop all personal property crime wherein low income people take in upon themselves to supplement their income THEN we can apply Darwinian philosophy of sink or swim. But since we spend tax dollars on personal income supplements AND on crime interdiction/incarceration then we probably should institute educational programs to make people eligible for good paying jobs.

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  • Cannoneer2 says:

    This career scientist recommends a Bachelor’s degree in History or Political Science, followed by a Master’s in Public Administration. Enjoy college, go to parties and have fun. Forget late nights and weekends studying differential equations, SN2 reactions, lattice structures, vectors and the like. Find an up and coming politician and get a nice cozy position as a staff assistant of some sort. It’s easier and you’ll make more money.

    • MarLE says:

      My 40 yr old son Did NOT take your advice. As a GT grad (as is his work-part-time-from-home wife) who studied all those unpleasant topics you listed he paid $170K last yr in Fed Income Tax. I bet those legislative assistants don’t even Make that in total wages! Bad career suggestion, IMHO

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