TDOE Awards Over $800K for Middle School STEM, CTE Career Exploration Start-Up & Expansion, and High School School-Based Enterprise Grants

Monday, November 22, 2021 | 10:05am


Nearly 40 Districts to Receive Grant Funding for Middle School STEM,  
CTE Education, and High School School-Based Enterprises

Nashville, TN— Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced over $800,000 in grant funding has been awarded to 38 districts for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, middle school career and technical education (CTE), and High School School-Based Enterprise (SBE) projects.   

Funding is provided through Governor Lee’s Future Workforce Initiative, which is aimed at increasing access to CTE, STEM, and Work-Based Learning (WBL) in the classroom. For the past two years, the department awarded start-up funding for middle school STEM and CTE programs. This year, in addition to start-up grants, schools that previously received funding were eligible to apply for expansion STEM and CTE grants, while high schools had the opportunity to qualify for SBE funding to increase enrollment in WBL courses. 

Middle School STEM Start-Up & Expansion Grants has been awarded to schools in 26 districts, and Middle School CTE Start-Up & Expansion Grants has been awarded to schools in 15 districts. Eight districts will receive High School SBE grant funding, with a total of 89 schools receiving grants. To view a list of grant recipients, click here. 

"Ensuring our students have access to high-quality work-based learning opportunities, STEM, and career and technical education is essential to building college and career readiness,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Tennessee has worked diligently to align STEM and CTE coursework that provides students with clearer pathways when transitioning from middle to high school. We are thrilled to now provide high school school-based learning to further improve students’ transition from high school into postsecondary education and the workforce.” 

For the past three years, Middle School grants have directly supported the goal of the Future Workforce Initiative to add an additional 100 new middle school STEM programs by 2022. Adding High School SBE grants will help eliminate barriers for students who can’t participate in off-campus WBL placements due to transportation and scheduling challenges. 

“Wilson County is excited to receive this grant to expand our middle school Healthcare career exploration programs,” said Jake Hammond, CTE Director of Wilson County Schools. “The grant will allow us to purchase equipment and materials necessary to prepare students to enter high school Health Science programs, as well as exposing students to industry standard healthcare equipment.”

“We feel this program will be extremely popular with students. Students will enjoy the creative outlet it offers and will take pride in seeing their products displayed,” said Amy Roberts, CTE Director of Giles County Schools. “For students who are economically disadvantaged, this will eliminate the pressure of finding transportation for off-campus WBL placements. For students with disabilities, the assembling and packaging of complicated products will be work that can prepare them for more meaningful, robust work experiences after graduation.”

Districts were allowed to apply for all three grants this year. In their applications, grant recipients demonstrated ability to align courses from middle school to high school, provide meaningful career guidance and advisement, and expand upon employer partnerships to create pathways for students. Grant funds will be available to districts on December 1, 2021. 

For more information about the Middle School STEM Start-Up Grants, CTE Career Exploration Grants, or High School School-Based Enterprise Grants, visit the department’s website. Learn more about the Governor’s Future Workforce Initiative here, which has already impacted nearly 400,000 Tennessee students and over 2,000 educators.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact