Shelby County Schools has approximately more than fifty programs that cover 16 career tracks at schools throughout the district. The district is working to make more programs and resources available at more schools but, in the meantime, students can transfer to specific schools in order to enroll in a desired program. To enable more students to take advantage of these programs, SCS has been shifting CTE classes to locations on-site at schools rather than at specific CTE centers and has been introducing online components for lower-level classes. An added bonus: SCS will pay for all certifications across all of its programs this year.
Computational thinking is the focus at CodeCrew, where youth receive practical training for careers in information technology. Code School is a six-month, hands-on boot camp designed to teach the fundamentals of coding, app development, and other software development skills. There are no up-front costs for Code School participants, and each student is provided with a laptop. CodeCrew partners with local companies to place its graduates in entry-level software development positions and provides graduates with ongoing advising and mentoring as they transition into their new careers.
LITE Memphis aims to equip African American and Latinx students with the tools and skills to build wealth. LITE’s eight-year program provides high school students with the resources to develop entrepreneurial projects, which they then have an opportunity to pitch to members of the local community. After high school graduation, LITE helps participants secure paid internships while they attend college. The program culminates with participants placed in a high-wage job or starting a business of their own. There is no charge to participate in the program; students receive stipends so that they can focus on working toward their goals.
The Collective offers a 9-week intensive course that allows youth to learn about the different career fields that are prominent in Memphis while receiving instruction in resume-writing, interviewing, and other related skills. After the intensive, coaches work with youth to get them into a post-secondary partner school, where they are also enrolled in internships or apprenticeships in their chosen field. Throughout the program, students receive stipends and grants so that they can focus on their work. Upon certification, participants are placed in entry-level jobs in high-demand fields. Mentoring continues after job placement, and participants are encouraged to continue their education and grow in their chosen field.
Four great opportunities in Memphis, Tennessee, that are dedicated to serving the untapped potential of our youth. As we look for more investments from city leaders, we marvel at the leadership and initiative shown by our neighboring leaders to fill the gaps.