Education and training are drivers of economic mobility and opportunity. CLASP works to strengthen federal and state education and training policy to ensure that low-wage workers and low-income individuals can enter and advance in the labor market, and to make sure that American businesses have access to workers with skills they need to compete. Transitional jobs, career exploration, job placement, and access to work supports such as child care also are essential for helping individuals get better jobs, succeed in education and training, and advance along a career pathway.

CLASP also develops and advocates for policies that connect individuals with low basic skills to postsecondary education and jobs that pay family-sustaining wages. Learn more about our new initiative, the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success (C-PES).

Your Chance to Weigh In: Federal Agencies Release Request for Information on Career Pathway Systems

Update: The Department of Labor has now posted a registration link to the May 1 webinar to discuss the Career Pathways RFI.

By Vickie Choitz and Manuela Ekowo

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (DOL) have released a request for information (RFI) on career pathway systems to gather information on effective career pathways, practices, and policies; federal policy barriers to implementing and sustaining them; and ways the federal agencies can better support state and local/regional partners adopting this approach. The departments will use the RFI responses to inform their career pathway strategies, guidance, regulatory changes, and investments and “to improve coordination of Federal policy development with investments at the State, tribal, and local levels.” It is our understanding that the three departments will host a webinar on May 1 to provide more information. Responses are due June 9, 2014. CLASP will submit comments, and we strongly encourage all of our career pathway colleagues to do so as well.

A growing number of states and communities are exploring and adopting career pathways, and the federal government is making significant and sustained investments in them. For example, round three of the TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) grant program supported development of stacked credentials, a key feature in career pathways. Round four explicitly includes career pathways as a core component that must be addressed in all applications and offers “bonus funds” to consortia applicants seeking to build and/or strengthen state career pathway systems. In 2013, the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education in the U.S. Department of Education partnered with Kratos and Abt Associates to provide technical assistance to states and local regions to build career pathway systems. And, recently, the Department of Labor indicated it is rejuvenating career pathways guidance and materials.

In addition to these federal efforts, the Joyce Foundation, Irvine Foundation, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way have supported CLASP and ten leading states in the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways (AQCP). The goal of AQCP is to develop a framework of system-building criteria and participant metrics for measuring and managing career pathway progress and success. We are coordinating this framework with the federal resources and tools. CLASP and the Alliance will release Version 1.0 of the framework and a companion self-assessment tool in June 2014. Click here to learn more.

All of these efforts continue to build momentum for the career pathways approach. In addition to your hard work on the ground and at the state level implementing, supporting, and sustaining career pathways and systems, by submitting comments to the federal request for information on career pathways you will be playing a valuable role in keeping this momentum going. This is your chance to weigh in on how the federal government can support this promising approach to helping workers and job seekers as well as employers and communities.

site by Trilogy Interactive