In the Spotlight: CLASP’s Career Pathway Framework Highlighted in New Brief

By Manuela Ekowo

In October 2015, the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) released a new brief, Career Pathways Initiatives. A career pathway system is the cohesive combination of partnerships, resources and funding, policies, data, and shared performance measures that support the development, quality, scaling, and “dynamic sustainability” of career pathways and programs. Career pathways reorient existing education and workforce services from myriad disconnected programs into a structure that syncs employers’ workforce needs with individuals’ education and training needs.

CCRS’s brief highlights major national and regional career pathways initiatives and offers ideas for states on designing and implementing career pathways. CLASP’s Alliance for Quality Career Pathways (AQCP) framework, designed for community colleges and their partners, is among the frameworks highlighted. 

The AQCP work began in 2012 when CLASP invited ten career pathway states—Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin—and their local/regional partners to develop a framework of criteria and indicators for what constitutes quality career pathway systems and a set of shared participant metrics for measuring and managing their success. CLASP and the AQCP partners jointly created and provided consensus support for Shared Vision, Strong Systems: The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Framework Version 1.0, establishing a common understanding of quality career pathways and systems.

The CCRS brief acknowledges that career pathways are growing—with 29 states participating in national or regional initiatives. CLASP continues to inform the national conversation on career pathways and provide leadership in building a shared vision and knowledge base, especially as it relates to implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and its requirement that states and local communities create career pathways that serve adults and youth, and especially individuals with barriers to employment seeking the education and training necessary to secure a good job.

We’re delighted that CLASP’s contribution to the field has been lifted up in this new brief, which adds to the urgency of developing strong career pathway systems that serve today’s and tomorrow’s learners.