For Immediate Release: July 18, 2012

New Ten State Alliance to Provide Quality Benchmarks and Measures of Success for Career Pathway Initiative

(Washington, D.C.) -- Ten states, in conjunction with CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, are launching the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a national effort to create a framework of benchmarks and measures of success for career pathway initiatives. The participating states will draw upon their combined decades of experience with this promising approach to education and training.

“Career pathways are a promising solution to ensure America remains globally competitive, and that all workers—regardless of initial skill level—can have access to postsecondary credentials and economic opportunities,” said Evelyn Ganzglass, Director of Workforce Development at CLASP. “Even in this sluggish economy, career pathways could help nearly 48 million workers who need better skills and wages for economic advancement.”

Career pathways are a coordinated sequence of education and training services that enable students, often while they are working, to advance over time to successively higher levels of education and employment in a given industry or occupational sector. They typically target low-skilled adults and out-of-school youth to help them earn the postsecondary credentials they need to compete for higher-skilled jobs. This approach has been gaining popularity across the country for a number of years, but until now, there has been little research on what constitutes a high quality initiative and how to best measure program successes. The Alliance will identify benchmarks that signal high-quality systems and programs.

Alliance state members Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin are national leaders in the design and implementation of career pathways. The Alliance is supported by the Joyce and James Irvine Foundations.

“The national framework produced by the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways will help existing career pathway initiatives ratchet up quality and help accelerate the development of new career pathway initiatives for individuals who need postsecondary training and credentials,” said Whitney Smith, Employment Program Manager of the Joyce Foundation. “We are pleased to be supporting this groundbreaking initiative as part of our strategy to improve systems and support opportunities for lower-skilled adults to gain the skills needed to advance in their careers and obtain good-paying jobs.”

“Building state and regional career pathways systems is the core of Virginia’s strategic plan for workforce development under Governor Bob McDonnell’s administration. This project will inform such current efforts in the Commonwealth as the production of an annual report card for Virginia’s Career Pathways System and the development of legislative and administrative priorities for workforce development,” said Laura Fornash, Secretary of Education for the State of Virginia.

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CLASP develops and advocates for policies at the federal, state and local levels that improve the lives of low-income people. Through careful research and analysis and effective advocacy, we develop and promote new ideas, mobilize others, and directly assist governments and advocates to put in place successful strategies that deliver results that matter to people across America.

The Joyce Foundation supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. We invest in and focus on today's most pressing problems while also informing the public policy decisions critical to creating opportunity and achieving long-term solutions. The work is based on sound research and is focused on where we can add the most value. We partner with others and encourage innovative and collaborative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach.

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society. The Foundation’s grantmaking focuses on three program areas: Arts, California Democracy and Youth. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided over $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 nonprofit organizations throughout California. With about $1.6 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $65 million in 2011 for the people of California.

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