NASHVILLE — The Tennessee General Assembly has approved legislation sponsored by State Rep. Tim Hicks, R-Gray, and State Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, requiring the Tennessee Department of Education to begin preparing students in middle school grades for a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway that may align with their career aptitude. House Bill 1446 introduces students to career opportunities that allow them to explore a wide variety of high-skill, high-wage, or in-demand career fields. Current law only encourages such action.
“This legislation was initiated by Rep. Tim Hicks,” said Sen. Crowe. “I was proud to sponsor this bill in the Senate and I want to thank Rep. Hicks for bringing it to our attention. It is very important that we educate our young students about CTE career opportunities.”
“My father always told me if you have a trade you will always have a job and I truly believe that still stands true today,” said Hicks. “We have to make every attempt to find our students talents and interests in grade school. This will equip students and have them ready for high school, and then they can be job-ready.”
Crowe and Hicks said the measure complements Gov. Bill Lee’s initiative to increase CTE opportunities through grant programs and other resources that give students more hands-on learning as they prepare for careers.
Present law requires Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to administer a career aptitude assessment to students in grade seven or grade eight in order to help inform a student’s high school plan of study. This bill adds that, upon administering the assessment, students must be provided with information on CTE opportunities offered by the LEA in which they are eligible to participate.
“We are very pleased that this legislation has passed and look forward to seeing it enacted into law to benefit many Tennessee students with higher-paying jobs of the future,” Crowe concluded.
The bill, which passed the Senate last week and the House on Monday night, now heads to Lee’s desk for his signature.