NASHVILLE – Tennesseans for Student Success began the 2020 legislative session by outlining our policy pillars and how they affect student success. This is the last installment of our #TSSPolicyPriorities campaign. If you missed any, catch up on our legislative policies here.

Why Economic Opportunity Matters: 

Earning a high school diploma is a remarkable achievement, but it should not represent the end of a journey. As our local economies continue to evolve, it is increasingly important to improve alignment among student instruction, teacher preparation, and the various opportunities for students to achieve economic independence after high school.

To honor our promise to provide today’s students with an opportunity for success in the future, we must ensure all Tennesseans are prepared for, can access, and complete a post-secondary credential or degree. Today, more than ever, Tennessee’s students have an opportunity to transition from high school to college or career seamlessly, and we are passionate about supporting various pathways and seeing the transition be as smooth as possible.


Below is an excerpt from Dan Caldwell:

National Skills Coalition has done some research and they tell us that 53% of the nation’s jobs require middle skills. Now those middle skills are something beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. So 53% of the nation’s jobs require it, but only 43% of Americans have those skills, so there’s quite a gap. Nissan recognizes that gap and we have partnered with Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) here in Smyrna, Tennessee, in a public, private partnership. We are co-located under one roof whereas, the TCAT trains anyone from the community in five different programs of study. And on the Nissan-side, my training staff, we continue to upskill and develop our own employees who come to us at various times in their career to brush up on robotics, engineering, leadership, Microsoft Office, any kind of training that they need to be successful in their roles. On the TCAT side… all of the programs of study lead to a high-demand, high-wage industries.”

Click here to watch Dan Caldwell talk about the opportunity students have to gain skills and pursue economic independence, specifically through the partnership between Nissan and TCAT Smyrna.

Please click here to take our Issue Survey to share your thoughts on economic opportunity and other policy areas affecting students in our state.

To continue the conversation on social media, use the hashtag #TSSPriorities.