Career Pathways featured in National Adult Education Journal

By Judy Mortrude

The Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) is the leading voice of adult education practitioners nationwide. In July, COABE released a special edition of the COABE Journal featuring research and perspectives on career pathways. Among the featured articles in the journal was one I wrote about the need for adult educators to use performance measures in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to tell the story of how adult education impacts the lives of individuals and their communities.

In the early 2000s, career pathways programs and system work was developed to align adult education, community college, human services, and workforce development. It was a system change initiative designed to produce better results for low-income adults in low-skilled jobs.  

Within (WIOA) and the Higher Education Act (HEA), the seven part career pathways definition emphasizes integrated education and training, career navigation, support services, and sector strategies  It offers a service delivery model that can effectively and equitably serve individuals who face barriers to employment. It also provides a strategy for how to connect individuals to education and economic mobility instead of short-term job training and low-wage employment.

This definition is also included in the newly enacted Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act. Now practitioners across the adult & CTE postsecondary education and workforce development systems can collaborate to implement career pathway strategies supported by their shared federal definition. 

The special career pathways edition of the COABE Journal is a timely and important resource.