Tennessee SySTEM Dual Enrollment Work-Based Courses
Tennessee SySTEM Dual Enrollment Work-Based Courses
October 25, 2023
At a Glance
The Tennessee SySTEM grant supports the implementation of dual enrollment work-based courses, which combine dual enrollment credit and work-based learning through an employer partner, to better support the advancement of Black and Latine students, students experiencing poverty, and female students of all backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and computer science.
The Tennessee SySTEM grant, developed in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and funded via an Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant through the U.S. Department of Education, supports Tennessee public high schools and their associated postsecondary and employer partners in designing dual enrollment work-based courses to better support the advancement of Black and Latine students, students experiencing poverty, and female students of all backgrounds in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and computer science.
Dual enrollment work-based courses are taught through applied learning that uses the workplace as a “learning lab,” enabling students to simultaneously experience college-level courses, gain credit, and practice workplace skills that may prepare them for STEM and computer science programs and careers. Instructors and employers co-plan and co-teach course content, which creates a seamless learning environment between the classroom and the workplace for students.
Throughout the duration of the partnership, the American Institute for Research (AIR) will be evaluating the feasibility of dual enrollment work-based courses as a strategy to improve students’ college and career readiness as well as STEM and computer science skill attainment.
Leverage work-based learning and dual enrollment to increase college and career readiness: Evidence shows that work-based learning can improve academic outcomes at the secondary and postsecondary levels, support positive youth development, increase employability skills, and help lead students to improved job quality later in life. Dual enrollment also has a positive impact on high school academics, high school graduation rates, college enrollment, college success, and college completion rates.
Increase interest in STEM and computer science fields: According to a Pew Research Center analysis of employment data, women of all background and individuals who identify as Black and/or Latine are less likely to earn degrees in STEM than in other degree fields, and they continue to make up a lower share of STEM graduates and workers in relevant competitive fields. One reason for this may be the lack of support and exposure students receive in secondary and postsecondary to pursue these fields further. In the United States, two out of three women say they were not encouraged to pursue a career in STEM throughout high school.
Support a diverse talent pipeline: The median salary of STEM industry workers in Tennessee is over $70,000, which is more than double the median Tennessee salary. Yet there are significant disparities in which workers have access to these promising careers. Black workers make up 11% of the U.S. workforce, but only 9% of STEM workers, while Latine workers are 16% of the total workforce, but only 7% of STEM workers. Although women make up about half of U.S STEM workers, they are concentrated in low-wage jobs.
Below is a list of current Tennessee SySTEM dual enrollment work-based course awarded schools and associated partners:
Alcoa High School – Alcoa, Tennessee
Associated partners: TN College of Applied Technology, TCAT Knoxville, Alcoa City Schools Technology Department and Library
Anderson County Career and Technical Center – Clinton, Tennessee
Associated partners: Roane State Community College, Peraton Remotec
Bartlett High School – Bartlett, Tennessee
Associated partners: University of Memphis, TCAT Memphis, Bartlett Chamber of Commerce, Bartlett Tech Department, Greater Memphis Medical Device Council, West TN STEM Hub, LSI Graphics, TechED2Go
Clinton High School – Clinton, Tennessee
Associated partners: Roane State Community College, Central Technology, Inc., Anderson County Office of Tech
Fayetteville, Franklin County, and Lincoln County High School (cohort) – Fayetteville & Winchester, Tennessee
Associated partners: TCAT Shelbyville, Lincoln Health System, Nissan, Grammer, FRANKE, Ariens, Tennessee Board of Regents
Jefferson County High School – Dandridge, Tennessee
Associated partners: Northeast State Community College, Jefferson County Schools
John Overton High School – Nashville, Tennessee
Associated partners: TCAT Nashville, Asurion, Accenture, MNPS IT, and TN State Department
Northeast High School – Clarksville, Tennessee
Associated partners: Nashville State Community College, IT Department of the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System
Oak Ridge High School – Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Associated partners: Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Tool Engineering, TN Tool and Engineering, Lokar, Boys and Girls Club
Southwind High School – Memphis, Tennessee
Associated partners: Southwest Tennessee Community College, KTG USA
Tennessee High School – Bristol, Tennessee
Associated partners: Northeast State Community College, Robinette Company
Dual Enrollment Work-Based Courses in Action
TN SySTEM participating high schools have taken different approaches to planning and executing their dual enrollment work-based courses. For example:
- Students enrolled in the Alcoa High School Help Desk dual enrollment work-based course experience the ins and outs of working in tech support. Students work in the Alcoa City Schools Technology Department and remain on the high school campus since the class is taught by a high school teacher serving as an adjunct.
- Southwind High School is drawing on the anticipated increase in mechatronics jobs in their local area just outside of Memphis. The Mechatronics dual enrollment work-based course offered at Southwest Tennessee Community College allows students to learn the basic electrical components needed to work in the field. The school’s partnership with KTG USA gives students hands-on experience. Both the course and the worksite experience are located off the high school campus.
- Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Shelbyville is executing an Industrial Maintenance dual enrollment work-based course available for students at Fayetteville High School and Lincoln County High School. Having one dual enrollment work-based course available for students at multiple high schools allows students to engage with each other and ensures enough enrollment numbers to run the course. Fayetteville and Lincoln students will conduct their worksite portion at Grammer, the local employer specializing in developing and manufacturing components and systems for car interiors.