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APEF: Preparing our Children for Tomorrow

Preparing our students for life beyond the classroom

Workforce Development is a massive opportunity for the Foundation and will be guiding the work of the foundation for the next decade. While college remains a worthy goal for many of our students, public education must embrace the challenge of a rapidly evolving global marketplace as we prepare them for learning, for leadership, and for life. We are working tirelessly to ensure that this becomes an essential element in public education, and that our children are armed with the skills necessary to compete successfully in college or the career field.

One size does not fit all.

Developing a completely new way

of thinking about public education.

As our world changes, we must adapt and evolve. We must lead the change to ensure that public education remains relevant. While college remains a worthy goal for many of our students, public education must embrace the challenge to prepare them for learning, for leadership, and for life. It is not just about preparation for college, but also for career. Work Force Development must become an essential element in public education, whether in vocational, technical, or professional development.

Of the 25 most in-demand jobs, 60% don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Radiation Therapist 


Providing radiation treatment to cancer patients pays, on average, $80,160 per year, with projected job growth at 14 percent between 2014 and 2024. For this career, an AA degree is a must; plus, in most states a license and/or certification is required.

Medical Sonographer


Operating imaging equipment that depicts, for example, an embryo wiggling in a womb, offers an illuminating $69,650 average salary, with a huge 24 percent job growth projected between 2014 and 2024. An AA degree and a certificate are required to embark on this career path.

Electric Line Installer


Fixing cables on the top of telephone and utility poles earns a lofty $62,650 per year on average. What’s more, job growth is projected to be 6 percent between 2014 and 2024. Prep for this career path involves long-term, on-the-job training and technical training.

Web Developer


This programming and graphic design skill garners an average of $66,130 per year. What’s more, projected job growth between 2014 and 2024 is an eye-popping 27 percent. Entry-level jobs typically require an AA degree, though self-employment is a viable option in this field.

How our foundation is taking steps

to prepare our next generation.

Communities across America are challenged with the lack of an adequately prepared workforce. We need for businesses, communities, and education leaders to be true partners in Workforce Development to ensure that we are preparing our children for learning, leadership, and life.


We partnered with Collierville High School (CHS) – the newest and largest high school in Tennessee – to create a Model District for Workforce Development

  • We have worked with CHS to give high school students the opportunity to gain certification and/or up to an Associate’s Degree, preparing them for life outside of high school.

  • APEF took over management of Collierville Partners in Education, an independent organization made up of local business leaders who aim to support Collierville youth and the school system in helping to ensure that students graduate prepared for college or a career.

    • PIE partnerships help enhance a student’s educational experience by providing field trips, mentorship, speakers, internships, and access to hands-on experiences in high demand sectors. 

Learn more >


West Tennessee Workforce Collaborative

  • Following our success building meaningful business/education partnerships in Collierville, we’ve been asked by multiple West TN school districts to develop and manage the West TN Workforce Collaborative (WTWC), a one of a kind organization created to address workforce development needs.

  • While most organizations are created at the behest of the State or specific industries, the WTWC is driven by local education systems. With leadership from the highest district level, there is clear buy-in from K-12 education leaders to come together with local industry and other community partners to tackle current and future workforce needs and provide excellent opportunities for our students.

  • Early goals include collecting and organizing workforce opportunities and training information into one central location, raising funds for career counselors, and developing an online workforce development platform which will connect students to industry leaders, internships, and careers.

Learn more >

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We partnered with the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) and the Tennessee Business Roundtable to create the Tennessee Business Fund for Public Education

  • These established organizations sought out our help to empower innovation in public education

  • This state-of-the-art project enables local school districts to receive funding for education initiatives

  • It is a gamechanger for businesses looking to invest directly into cutting edge technology for underprivileged districts

  • Recently, we began grantmaking with a $10,000 grant to Perry County, Tennessee for specialized programs

Learn more >


Because of overwhelming success, we were asked to take this CHS model and apply it to Arlington High School in Tennessee


In 2019, we helped establish Arlington Education Business Partnerships

WFD Success
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