LEAP works with educators and employers to identify and close skills gaps that hinder the economic development of communities throughout the state.  In January 2015, THEC awarded $10 million in state-funded LEAP grants to twelve local programs across the state. The community-led partnerships, comprised of industry partners, postsecondary institutions, K12 educators, and workforce development professionals, were tasked with aligning educational training and postsecondary credentials with the needs of regional industry employers.

The Northwest Tennessee Workforce Board and Dyersburg State Community College (DSCC) were awarded $850,000 to partner with regional postsecondary institutions and local industry partners to reinforce pathways to advanced manufacturing careers for students across an 11-county area. The CPT Pathway LEAP program utilizes industry-recognized readiness assessments, such as ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), to direct students into Certified Production Technician (CPT) training courses in high schools. This new coursework enables students in 16 high schools to master a number of core competencies related to manufacturing production at the front line.

Students who complete this coursework may apply the certification toward postsecondary credit in a variety of advanced manufacturing programs, including welding, programmable logic controls, and robotics, which are available through CPT Pathway’s postsecondary partners. In addition to implementing this new program, LEAP funds have been used to assess the job readiness of LEAP students through ACT’s WorkKeys Jobs Skills Assessment and NCRC programs. Both of these resources provide a comprehensive procedure to measure, communicate, and improve on the common skills required for success in the workplace.

The 2016 LEAP Report, released by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in January, noted that as of December 2015, 1,591 high school students across the state have enrolled in courses enhanced or funded by LEAP and 630 college students have enrolled in LEAP-supported programs. In total, 13,363 Tennessee students have engaged in LEAP-funded programming, including work-based learning experiences, career exploration programs, and other industry-focused learning activities.

LEAP was established in 2013 when the Tennessee General Assembly passed Public Chapter 338, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga). The program is administered by THEC and advised by the Governor’s Workforce Sub-Cabinet.

For more information, please contact the Comprehensive Career Center in Dyersburg.