Examines best practices from career pathway systems developed by eight first-cohort states to inform policy development for states envisioning and implementing these pathways.
“This brief, which draws on the first two years of the Pathways to Prosperity work, is a first step toward developing a policy set that can be used across multiple states to put career pathways in place. Here, we take a preliminary look at what states in the network and some others are doing to determine what states can and should do to build momentum for the implementation of pathways systems. No single state in the Pathways to Prosperity Network has comprehensive policies regarding pathways today, but each brings to the table policy sets that make possible critical aspects of the Pathways to Prosperity design and that should be helpful to peer states. This brief organizes and compiles examples for each key implementation lever in the Pathways to Prosperity framework. It goes without saying that good policies do not ensure local capacity or quality of implementation, but they are a necessary condition” (p.1). The three main purposes of this brief are, “(1) To begin an assessment of policy elements and strategies that are required for putting grades 9-14 pathways systems in place; (2) To highlight a selection of state efforts that can serve as models to support elements of the Pathways to Prosperity design and rollout; (3) To describe policies that are not currently in place but would be desirable to facilitate the involvement of intermediaries, employers, and industry groups” (p.1).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff).

Major Findings & Recommendations

“The Pathways to Prosperity Network is now two years old. The first cohort of states—California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee—is doing significant work in creating career pathways in grades 9-14. Two more states, Arizona and Delaware, joined the network in June 2014, and Madison, Wisconsin will join as a Pathways to Prosperity region this fall. The network has taken on the challenge of career development education and work-based learning and has made the exposure of all young people to a wide range of career options, information, and experiences a key lever in the Pathways to Prosperity framework. The country simply cannot afford not to come up with new and more effective approaches to career education and workforce development. These are critical both for the healthy development of the nation’s younger generations and for the overall health of the U.S. economy and society. The heavy lift required to create such a system belongs to states, and each state will have its own vision and plan for what needs to be done within the broad framework and levers of Pathways to Prosperity. This paper is an initial attempt to gather information and synthesize observations about the policies currently in place in the Pathways to Prosperity states and beyond and to raise questions about areas that might be ripe for policy development to support each state’s vision and implementation strategies “ (p.19). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff).