Career Technical Education bill could provide opportunities for middle schoolers

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ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – A bill that is headed to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s desk would provide for Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for middle school students.

Rep. Tim Hicks sponsored the bill, which has passed already in the House and the Senate.

“I think this will sort of help them find their niche,” Hicks said. It will make high school a whole lot better. You find something you really want to learn. I think that’s the big goal of this.”

Dean Blevins, president of Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), oversees CTE programming for adults and high schoolers.

“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to better enlighten our young students on what opportunities are out there,” Blevins said.

Lottie Ryans, director of Workforce Development for the First Tennessee Development District, said implementing CTE for middle schoolers can help them find out what they do and don’t want in a career early.

“I do believe the earlier exposure, the better, and what makes sense for that regional economy,” Ryans said.

Meanwhile, Blevins said TCAT is seeing high enrollment.

“We will touch 12, 1300 students in any one year, as we rotate through our programs, and we actually have about 3500 students on the waitlist,” Blevins said.

Blevins said he’s hoping to open another location to accommodate the demand in the coming years.

“There’s no better time to be in career technical education than now, really some exciting things happening,” Blevins said.

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