In the Classroom Policy
You May Say that I’m a Dreamer, but I’m Not the Only One: Reimagine Career Readiness
September 9, 2017
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Amanda Arnold

John Lennon once said, “Imagine all the people living for today.” This is such a simple statement, yet so hard for so many students to do. Career readiness is a critical part of education that students need for living everyday lives. Students must receive education that prepares them for excellence in all labor.

Students who wish to pursue career readiness tracks after high school need opportunities that provide meaningful experiences. They need programs that prepare them for excellence within the trades. What if Tennessee had a no-cost vocational training program that provided high quality job training, job placement, medical and dental care, room and board, and three meals a day? Can you imagine the opportunities this could create for students? Can you imagine the impacts for low socioeconomic students? Can you imagine that this already exists?

Tennessee currently has two sites with programs that provide these services. Job Corps is a FREE education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is authorized by Title I-C of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. Students ages 16-24 are eligible to participate in the program.

These programs offer some amazing opportunities for career readiness. The Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center in Memphis and Jacobs Creek Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Bristol each offer different programs of study:

Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center in Memphis

  • Accounting Services
  • Carpentry
  • Certified Nurse Assistant
  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Computer Technician A+
  • Health Unit Coordinator
  • Insurance Claims Processor
  • Material Handling and Distribution Operations
  • Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Advanced Manufacturing

Jacob’s Creek Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Bristol

  • Bricklaying
  • Carpentry
  • Cement Masonry
  • Heavy Construction Equipment Mechanic
  • Heavy Equipment Operations
  • Office Administration
  • Painting
  • Security and Protective Services
  • Welding

Benefits for students enrolled in the program can include: a living allowance twice a month, free housing, three free nutritious meals a day, GED program, and a free wellness center with basic medical, dental, and optometrist services.

Graduates continue to receive services:

  • A transition allowance of up to $1,000 to assist with transportation and housing
  • Job placement assistance for up to nine months
  • Career counseling
  • Relocation counseling services

Imagine the possibilities if there was a collaboration that made this accessible while students were completing their high school diplomas. Imagine career readiness excellence that could help break the cycle of poverty and increase qualified workers entering the workforce. Reimagine the possibilities of career readiness.

Amanda has worked at Dobyns­ Bennett High School for the past seven years. In that time, Amanda has served as an Associate Principal, the English 9 Co­Taught Team Leader, English 10 Co­Taught Team Leader, Co­President of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa International Honor Society for Women Educators and on the Tennessee Digital Learning Team. Throughout her career she has served as a school­-wide Title I coordinator, school-­level testing coordinator and 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant coordinator. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from East Tennessee State University. In 2010, she earned an Educational Specialist degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

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