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National Movement to Offer Students Alternative Pathways to Careers and College Gains Momentum in 8 Pathways Network States

Posted on 07/28/2014

Pathways to Prosperity - America's Youth

Eight states that are members of the Pathways to Prosperity Network External link opens in new window or tab have launched or dramatically expanded career pathways that offer flexible work and learning opportunities. The initiatives help young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with labor market value, and get launched in high-demand careers that can provide the basis for further advancement.

The states—California External link opens in new window or tab, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee (to be joined this year by two additional states)—are using existing and new sources of funding to strengthen and modernize their career and technical education programs, expand such innovations as early college high schools and career academies, and build career pathways that span the last years of high school and the first two years of postsecondary education. These programs bring together regional employers, community college leaders, and K-12 leaders to design programs aligned with regional labor market needs and that lead to technical degrees or industry-specific certificates and credentials in areas of high demand.

"The states we are working with are committed to destroying once and for all the old notion that some kids need to be prepared for college while others are being prepared for careers. They understand that, in the 21st century, all young people need to be prepared both for some form of further education and a career. The Pathways Network is especially focused on helping states build out robust career pathways that span grades 9-14 and provide young people with a strong academic foundation and a solid core of technical skills that can enable them to get started in a high-demand, high-growth field," said Robert Schwartz, professor emeritus at Harvard Graduate School of Education who, along with colleagues at Jobs for the Future (JFF) External link opens in new window or tab, helps to lead the Network.

California has created a $500 million Career Pathways Trust External link opens in new window or tab to invest in regional collaboratives involving employers, community colleges, and high schools to support career programs, including work-based learning aligned with regional economic priorities.

Find out more in the full media release and download the full report External link opens in new window or tab from JFF. Information about California activities is on page 14 of the report. Lessons learned and key policy recommendations can be found on pages 25 and 27, respectively.