Tennessee Celebrates 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14-18

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | 09:30am


Highlighting Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship Program

Nashville, TN— This week, the Tennessee Department of Education is celebrating the important role apprenticeships play in postsecondary preparation during the 8th Annual National Apprenticeship Week, happening November 14-18. Specifically, the department is highlighting the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship, the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country, paving the way for the future of the teaching profession.

Celebrated nationwide, National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) highlights how apprenticeship programs build a stronger workforce and address labor market challenges through a combination of on-the-job training and high-quality curriculum and instruction. The department encourages schools, educators, and districts to share their celebrations on social media using #NAW2022 and #ApprenticeshipTN.

“This week, we are proud to highlight the many amazing apprenticeship programs across Tennessee that help students identify their strengths and passions in the workforce to boost their readiness for success after high school graduation,” said Commissioner Schwinn. “I am especially excited to highlight the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship, providing our students with multiple avenues into the teaching profession for free.”

Throughout the month of November, Tennessee is celebrating the state’s Grow Your Own initiative, which is inspiring the next generation of future teachers so that every student has access to a high-quality educator in their classroom. As a part of the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the Grow Your Own initiative aims to set a new path for the educator profession and for Tennessee to be the top state in which to become and remain a teacher and leader. 

Paving the way for teaching and educator workforce development nationwide, the department announced in January 2022 it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines, and was the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University's Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country. Tennessee is the first state nationwide to sponsor Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship programs between school districts and EPPs, which will further the state’s and nation’s efforts to extend the teacher pipeline and address teacher shortages.

“Thanks in part to these programs, our hiring metrics continue to exceed our goals in our most challenging endorsements,” said Dr. Justin Robertson, Hamilton County Director of Schools. “Grow Your Own programs and teacher apprenticeships are central to our mission and assist us in cultivating talent to ensure that all children have access to an excellent teacher so that they can thrive and experience a future without limits.”

“Tennessee’s ‘Grow Your Own’ program is a groundbreaking initiative that will have a tremendous impact on our schools,” said Holly Free-Ollard, State Apprenticeship Director, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce. “Because of the collaboration between Apprenticeship Tennessee and the Department of Labor, our state is now a model for the nation on how to create a Registered Apprenticeship program for teachers.”

“The Tennessee Teacher Occupational Apprenticeship is addressing three problems of practice in the field of education: teacher diversity, teacher shortage, and educator preparation,” said Dr. Sean Impeartrice, Chief Academic Officer at Clarksville Montgomery County Schools. “This program has provided meaningful opportunities that employees would have otherwise missed out on. Our teacher residents reported that the competency-focused experiences and wraparound supports are their most valuable resources in their program experiences.  Residents also report significant improvements in self-efficacy thanks to the program’s rigor, residents’ exposure to different departments, and ongoing mentor feedback.”

Beyond the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship, high school students have access to six registered apprenticeship programs in machining, welding, maintenance, culinary arts, mechatronics, and information technology. Additionally, over the past 12 months, there are now 20 Tennessee Certified Pre-Apprenticeship programs to help high school students transition into apprenticeships across 14 different programs of study.  

“We’ve learned that youth apprenticeship interest is on the rise in a big way,” said Donna G. Wortham, Assistant Principal, Maryville High School, Maryville City Schools. “Our students now realize that apprenticeships add to their resumes as they prepare for postsecondary education and the workforce. Whether they’re seamlessly matriculating to an institution of higher education or moving straight into the workforce, our apprenticeship students gain the skills needed for employment in high-growth, high-wage occupations with a portable and stackable industry credential.”

Follow the department’s social media for additional highlights of the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship and the Grow Your Own initiative.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.Mediainquiries@tn.gov