The Pathways TN Framework

Pathways TN champions a framework that we believe will work for all Tennesseans in all regions across the state. It combines pieces such as career exploration, early postsecondary opportunities, industry involvement, and postsecondary attainment to create a complete package to prepare our future workforce. This framework guides how we work at the state and regional levels in creating postsecondary- and career-ready students. We believe this framework can be adopted by all schools to ensure all citizens are prepared for future success. Below you can find information about the progression students will follow as our framework is implemented.

  1. Middle School: Our framework begins with an active process of career exploration in middle school (or earlier). To begin this process of career awareness, local industry must be involved by participating in career fairs, field trips, speaking at local schools, and developing real-world application classroom activities that help students understand what industries are growing in their region.
  2. High School: As students transition to high school, school counselors and educators guide them into programs of study and general education courses that will provide them with the relevant education and experience to succeed in a career field. These programs of study should align with each student's interests and strengths. While students take courses in an approved program of study or area of elective focus, they should bank postsecondary credits, earn industry certifications that align with the courses they take, and participate in work-based learning—all designed to prepare them for success in the workplace and whatever postsecondary option they choose.
  3. Earning a Postsecondary Credential: Career readiness does not just stop at a high school diploma. Within the next decade, over half of all of the jobs available in Tennessee will require a postsecondary credential or degree. Our framework, therefore, works to ensure students can transition seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary education (technical college, two-year college, and four-year university). We believe that all students should have a postsecondary degree, certificate, certification, or diploma, as a majority of jobs in Tennessee will soon require a postsecondary credential.
  4. Career: After earning a postsecondary credential, our framework allows for Tennesseans to be prepared for a career in their community. But it also creates a series of entry and exit ramps. Citizens who have earned a two-year degree may be interested in pursuing a four-year degree to progress them further in their career. Our framework provides options to ensure all Tennesseans are able to meet their goals and live fulfilling lives.

You can learn more about our framework here, or contact Adriana Harrington at

Pathways Tennessee Framework. 1. Active industry involve in student learning, starting in early grades. 2. Strong integration of students supports, intervention, and counseling. 3. “Bank” postsecondary credits and/or industry certifications in high school. 4. Transition seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary. 5. Multiple entry and exit points for grades 13-16. 6. Qualified workforce has regional/state relevance.