Through better alignment of education, training, and employment services among public agencies, career pathways holds the promise of increasing the number of workers in the U.S. who gain the industry-recognized and academic credentials they need to work in the most in-demand occupations. The following WSS resources provide state policymakers and practitioners with ideas on how to design and improve career pathways that have a strong potential to meet current and future U.S. labor market needs.

Building Better Career Pathways: A Guide for System Development. 2015. This revamped career pathways toolkit reflects the new WIOA legislation and is designed for state level staff. “This revised Toolkit acknowledges many of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) strategic investments to create and sustain a demand-driven employment and training system as part of a larger national effort. It incorporates the Career One-Stop competency model as a building block for creating career pathway programs and references the Career One-Stop [Certification Finder online tool] as an easy way to search existing industry-recognized credentials.

Portable, Stackable Credentials: A New Education Model for Industry-Specific Career Pathways. 2012. This paper examines career pathways as a model for meeting the needs of the labor market, as well as the individual worker, and provides recommendations for developing more coordinated career pathways systems. It “describes the nature of the challenges we are facing and highlights current innovations and models—around the world and in the U.S.— that suggest how a new system of well-designed career pathways could address more effectively the demand-side needs of employers and the supply-side needs of individual workers.”

Farther, Faster: Six Promising Programs Show How Career Pathway Bridges Help Basic Skills Students Earn Credentials that Matter. 2011. This brief provides examples of community colleges offering dual enrollment career pathways bridges for basic skills students, explains why such models may be beneficial for both students and community colleges, and offers advice for community colleges hoping to start offering this type of integrated education themselves.  Some of the community colleges highlighted in the brief include: Portland Community College in Oregon, South Texas Community College in McAllen, Texas and Lakeland College in Mattoon, Illinois.