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Gov.’s agenda includes $4 million for STEM

By Tamas Mondovics

Legislative agenda includes $4 million to increases science, technology, engineering and mathematics in K-12 schools to court jobs of the future.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or more commonly referred to as STEM programs and initiatives have been gaining steady momentum. Students across the nation and the world are taking advantage of classes or contests such as robotics competitions are increasing in popularity.
Johnson County students are no exception as they are taking their rightful place among the very best; making use of their knowledge and STEM education.
Of course, Tennessee governor Bill Lee’s recent announcement of 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 is good news for both teachers and students.
“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 in a recent press release from his office.
Lee emphasized that the 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.”
In the release, officials stated that 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 question of what is the goal of all of this is as important as the initiative itself.
Lee’s office stated that 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 eight percent of graduates study computer science in college,” Lee said. “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.”
The Governor reportedly recommends 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,” Lee said.