Metro Nashville Public Schools is deepening its partnership with Nashville State Community College. The goal is to give students a better shot at getting new jobs that are coming into the city.
They’re offering dual enrollment and bringing training for higher-paying jobs to local youth.
The mayor and other city officials were at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School on Thursday to sign a formal agreement, making the venture official.
“What we see as a clear next step for us is to continue to build out our career pathways through our educational system, starting as early as our elementary students through high school, that truly connect to the pathways that are available to them,” says Metro Nashville Public Schools interim superintendent Adrienne Battle.
Battle says the partnership is an expansion of current programs within the district, like the Academies of Nashville, a college and career preparation initiative for high school students. The Academies introduce students to jobs in health, technology and business.
It comes at a time when many residents feel they’re being left out of Nashville’s growth, and about a quarter of kids are living in poverty. According to Metro Social Services, half of Nashville’s workforce earn $35,460 or less. The department also says the city’s high-paying jobs are being filled by workers recruited into Nashville.
“There are some gaps in equity when it comes to just educational attainment. So if you’re not acquiring the education you need to get the jobs, then there’s going to be an even bigger gap in those people that are,” says Nashville State president Shanna Jackson. “We’ve been recruiting a lot of talent into Nashville which is great, but we have to grow our own.”
Once students are at Nashville State, Jackson says the goal is to provide students with accessible pathways to employment.