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Building the Future of East Tennessee’s Workforce

East Tennessee PBS will generate youth regional workforce development opportunity awareness and engagement through a series of videos and a companion digital curriculum.

Download the project snapshot

 

Background

Addressing the labor shortage in the Tennessee Valley requires both near- and long-term strategies. There are many effective programs addressing the immediate problem, but few look beyond the five- to ten-year timeframe. These efforts often focus on teens or young adults looking to enter the workforce and maybe only shown via the internet or cable TV ads. Additionally, present efforts do not provide equal access to information that introduces young people to the jobs, skills, and careers needed in the region today and in the future. Engaging the youngest community members and creating awareness about potential future careers and the skills required is necessary for ensuring that the region serves as a pipeline of skilled and trained workers for years to come.

When children understand the correlation between what they are learning and how it applies to everyday life, they will become much more invested in that learning. Career paths are no different. This project will serve primary school students grades K-8, with a particular focus on those five to eight years old. A benefit of this work will be an increased interest in vocational and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career fields by introducing students as early as possible to the regional possibilities and outlining the steps to success. This will help fuel the region’s talent pipeline for the future.

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Objectives

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The objective of this innovative project is to provide all young people in the Valley with resources to connect learning in the classroom with future career opportunities in their communities.

The success of this pilot project will be measured through metrics related to community connections, feedback and evaluations, and online data.

Community Connections

  • Number of schools/school systems engaged
  • Number of community engagement events/activities
  • Number of participants at engagement events
  • Additional PBS stations airing programming and model adoption

Feedback and Evaluation

  • Feedback from Advisory Committee and user group sessions 
  • Community engagement surveys and data collection 
  • Viewer comments and questions
  • Teacher input and engagement

Online Data

  • Page views, engagements, return visitors, and shares
  • Registrations and materials accessed on pbslearningmedia.org
  • Email newsletter registration
  • Click-throughs from digital referrals
  • Lesson plans downloaded
  • Online video views
  • Social media engagement

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Key Levers for Success

By leveraging East Tennessee PBS’ trusted broadcast platform and large audience, along with the support of community partners, there is an opportunity to meet both community and organizational goals. The videos created from this pilot project will address the regional long-term workforce development needs through educational programs geared toward children. This program format can be used in the future to introduce children to other concepts, such as civics, government, and more.

The Team

  • Barbara Shipley, East Tennessee PBS program lead, has over 15 years of experience in program development, leadership, management, marketing and communications. As program lead, Barbara will oversee program/project management and branding, and ensure continuity among partners and communication strategies aligned with pilot project goals.

  • Haley Jones, East Tennessee PBS Education Design, Standards and Oversight, is the East Tennessee PBS’ education director. Haley is a former public elementary and middle school teacher, with specific experience in urban and multicultural education equity, and will ensure that educational content is consistent with state and national education standards, meets educational goals and is age appropriate.

  • Nick Geidner, Landgrant Films, University of Tennessee — Production Development, is an associate professor at the University of Tennessee in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media. With over 30 years of film experience, Nick will be responsible for the creative, filming and post-production of every episode of the project.

This pilot project also has an advisory board that will oversee the project and provides feedback on videos. They will also identify in-demand skills or job opportunities for future videos and provide guidance on the companion curriculum that will accompany the videos produced. This advisory board is important for this pilot project as they will help create connections and advertise the pilot project videos with the intent to create future videos.

 

Next Steps / Timeline

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As of Summer 2022, East Tennessee PBS is in test video production and review. By generating feedback from the test videos, East Tennessee PBS will integrate suggested edits into the final videos.

Production of the final 90-second videos will begin in the third quarter of 2022 with a target airing date in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Resources / Links

Early Childhood Education by Television: Lessons from Sesame Street

  • This study examined the link between Sesame Street views and school outcomes later in childhood and found that Sesame Street had a positive impact on educational outcomes.