A Coming of Age Story for Career Pathways
By Judy Mortrude and Manuela Ekowo
At the recent National Dialogue on Career Pathways, many federal officials observed that the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) uses the term “career pathways” more than twenty times, signaling a coming of age for this powerful workforce development strategy.
The career pathway approach connects progressive levels of education, training, support services, and credentials for specific occupations in a way that optimizes the progress and success of individuals with varying levels of abilities and needs. This approach can benefit well-prepared students, but it’s especially beneficial for more vulnerable populations.
WIOA provides a comprehensive definition of a career pathway program and signals the move toward career pathway system building. While WIOA heavily features career pathway language, new and existing partnerships may still wonder what exactly is meant by “career pathways.” Moreover, programs and partnerships may need a better understanding of the nuances of career pathways before they’re ready to receive help building systems.
To guide the work ahead, Career Pathways Explained, is brought to you by CLASP and the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a partner-driven initiative with 10 leading states that successfully developed a framework identifying criteria and indicators to define quality career pathway systems and metrics to measure and manage success. This visually engaging, web-based tool explains how the career pathway approach helps individuals with limited skills access education and training that leads to employment in occupations and industries that are in high demand. It also provides concrete examples of success in Alliance states. The tool is designed to explain career pathways to people in the field who appreciate this approach but are not steeped in it.
Be sure to check out Career Pathways Explained. We think you’ll find it very useful, and we encourage you to share it with your colleagues.