Tennessee’s Department of Education (TDOE) is celebrating a first-of-its kind initiative that allows future teachers to qualify for that position by completing an apprenticeship program.
Announced in January 2022, the “Grow Your Own” initiative has “set a new path for the educator profession as the top state to become and remain a teacher and leader for all” by “support[ing] partnerships between Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession and will continue to build pipelines of qualified teachers and school district professionals.”
“Tennessee’s Apprenticeship Model aligns leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors and funding of the national registered apprenticeship process,” according to TDOE’s website. “A Registered Apprenticeship Program is a proven model of professional training that has been validated by either the USDOL or a State Apprenticeship Agency. Tennessee’s Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship was the first of its kind federally registered through the USDOL, meeting national quality standards that are hallmarks for both employers and job seeking apprentices.”
Now, TDOE is touting the early success of the program.
“Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced continued momentum and recognition for innovative educator preparation pathways through a component of Tennessee’s Grow Your Own initiative, the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship models. Tennessee was the first state in the country to sponsor registered teaching apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs), and Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models align leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors of the nationally registered apprenticeship process,” according to a release from TDOE.
Recently, according to the release, the University of Tennessee System announced the launch of the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center, which will invest $20 million in supporting statewide scale for the apprenticeship programs.
“We believe Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models will set the course for the nation’s educator pipeline, ultimately accelerating our innovation for not only teacher preparation – but the profession itself,” said TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Continuing to learn and improve, we have a tremendous opportunity to think differently on how to ensure every child, in every classroom, has an excellent educator they most need – and deserve.”
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