Students in the Jackson-Madison County School System will soon have a new opportunity to get a jumpstart on post-secondary coursework through a new partnership with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jackson. Starting in January, Career Technical Education (CTE) classes will be expanded at three JMCSS high schools with the option of dual credit or dual enrollment for students through TCAT Jackson.
“This partnership will allow our students to graduate and be more prepared than ever for what’s next, whether that’s entering the workforce trained for current needs in our community or starting college or technical school with credit hours already under their belts,” explained Dr. Eric Jones, JMCSS superintendent. “With TCAT, we are providing students the option to earn a higher starting wage and cut their costs of completing their higher education.”
Close to 200 JMCSS students are expected to take part in this opportunity during the spring semester. “Our strategic focus is workforce development and student success throughout the region,” said Dr. Jeff Sisk, President of TCAT Jackson. “We want everyone to understand that a technical college education can lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs, in a short amount of time, and tuition-free through the Tennessee Promise scholarship program.”
The fields of study offered to students include collision repair technology and welding (at North Side and South Side high schools), hospitality and tourism professional and cybersecurity (at Liberty Tech), and advanced manufacturing production assistant (at LOOP – Stanley Black and Decker campus).
“All of these course additions have been proven to directly tie to the labor market needs of Madison County,” said Dr. Jared Myracle, JMCSS Chief Academic Officer. “They give students early post-secondary opportunities that go beyond just academic classes.”
“Students will have access to technical college curricula, faculty, and resources while enrolled in high school,” added Dr. Sisk. “Students will be graduating with technical skills that are in demand by our area employers.” According to Dr. Sisk, the lottery scholarship covers the entire cost of tuition for dual enrollment high school students. If the cost exceeds the lottery scholarship amount, TCAT Jackson will cap the tuition so that the student is not out any out-of-pocket money.
“Our students can now get a jump start on their career aspirations while still in high school,” said Jennifer Barham, JMCSS CTE Supervisor. “This collaboration will not only benefit our students but our workforce and community as a whole.”
The partnership with TCAT Jackson is one of many new opportunities offered as part of the district’s commitment to student career readiness. Others include LOOP (Local Options & Opportunities Program), Modern States college credit, Project Lead the Way, and expanded dual credit/enrollment options.