BY LAUREN HENRY
The Workforce Education (WE) Committee presented a nearly finalized manufacturing pathways proposal on Tuesday afternoon.
The WE Committee hopes to transform local education into a series of pathways to equip students for skilled, high-paying local jobs.
What the committee has been working on is called the Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways program.
It is designed to give students a clear path to follow for education.
Wayland Seaton, Greene County supervisor of high schools, said that the manufacturing pathway will be presented before a manufacturing committee before being finalized in order to include their input.
The health and science pathway was approved at the group's last meeting.
The final three pathways are transportation, business and finance, and educational and professional services.
The WE Committee is composed of individuals from the Greene County and Greeneville school systems, Walters State Community College (WSCC), and the Greene County Partnership, as well as local industry.
The committee has been meeting since last summer and now hopes that it will be ready to introduce the pathways program to students in time for January registration.
The program calls for counselors to coach students and parents beginning in sixth grade.
By the student's freshman year of high school, the student will be required to declare a pathway -- but the student will remain free to change pathways if he or she wishes to do so.
NO TECH CENTER
A major stumbling block for the goals of both ventures is lack of a true adult center in Greene County for career and technology students.
Now, the closest technology centers are in Elizabethton and Morristown.
Walter State could offer some of the required classes, but the students will not be eligible for the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, which can only be used at technology centers.
Seaton said it simply isn't ideal for an 18-year-old to have to drive to Elizabethton or Morristown to attend technology classes.
Seaton also said that there is often a year to year-and-a-half wait to be admitted.
The committee also compared two workplace readiness assessment tools, which had been presented to the committee at past meetings: JobFit and WorkKeys.
The goal of the assessment tools is to determine where an individual will feel the most fulfilled and thus be the most productive.
Seaton said the two assessment tools are very comparable in both assessment and price. Seaton said the committee is leaning toward JobFit.
Tom Ferguson, president and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, suggested that the assessment tools be presented to a manufacturing group to receive feedback before deciding.
Seaton said the manufacturing group will most likely not discuss the matter until December.
The next meeting of the WE Committee will be first week of December, when the group will continue preparing the final three CTE Pathways.