Resources & Publications

Federal Agencies Show Strong Commitment to Career Pathways

Apr 09, 2012

By Marcie Foster

Last week, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services released a joint letter of support demonstrating their shared commitment to career pathways as a key strategy to improve the number of adults and youth obtaining postsecondary and industry-recognized credentials. CLASP has long supported career pathways as an evidence-backed strategy to expand economic opportunity and access to marketable credentials for low-income workers at all skill levels, and is pleased to see the federal government reinforce the effectiveness of this approach. 

While this letter is the first of its kind, individual agencies have signaled their support for pathways and provided technical assistance on best practices through guidance and program memoranda to their grantees. These include:

Several states have already adopted a career pathways approach, including California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. The Joyce Foundation's Shifting Gears Initiative helped expand these efforts. This multiyear state policy initiative promoted regional economic growth by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in six Midwestern states- Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. CLASP managed this effort and was the main technical assistance provider to the participating states.

Hopefully, with the introduction of this letter, many more states will be encouraged to forge new cross-agency partnerships and take the first step toward setting in place a career pathways framework for education and training statewide.

For more information on how to find funding for a career pathways effort, view Funding Career Pathways and Career Pathway Bridges: A Federal Policy Toolkit for States>>

For additional resources from the Departments of Labor and Education on career pathways, visit >>

site by Trilogy Interactive