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Imagine that you're one of the estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. who has limited skill levels. You want to improve your skills and get a better.

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Presentation on theme: "Imagine that you're one of the estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. who has limited skill levels. You want to improve your skills and get a better."— Presentation transcript:


2 Imagine that you're one of the estimated 36 million adults in the U.S. who has limited skill levels. You want to improve your skills and get a better job…perhaps as a machine operator, pharmacy assistant, or automotive technician.

3 You know that there is increasing demand for these skilled occupations. But like many, you don’t know where or how to get the education or training necessary to move forward with such a career.

4 You lack access to career guidance, and you’re confused by the wide array of postsecondary options. Plus, you have to hold down a job and raise your family while pursuing further education and training.

5 The fact is, today’s disconnected skill development systems were designed for a time before two-thirds of jobs required at least some education and training beyond high school.

6 One promising solution to this challenge is the career pathway approach.

7 Career pathways offer routes to skilled professions and support individuals along the way, coordinating with employers and providing crucial guidance. Each step allows the participant to gain a marketable skillset and credential, preparing them for the next job on the career path.

8 This new approach has grown over the last decade with investments from foundations and from the federal and state governments.

9 Career pathways recently received a major endorsement when Congress passed—and President Obama signed—the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The new law includes strong support for this approach and related innovations in youth and adult education.

10 In this explainer, we'll cover what’s required to establish quality career pathways and systems and give a few examples of how they work on the ground.


12 The career pathway approach targets occupations with a lot of job openings and works with employers to grow a pipeline of skilled workers.

13 Guided by practical career milestones, the pathway approach then connects progressive levels of education, training, support services, and credentials. Each career pathway has three essential features...

14 1) Multiple entry points so that individuals can begin their career path at the most appropriate skill level.

15 2) Multiple exit points so that individuals can enter the workforce at various milestones and easily return to their education when they’re ready—either between jobs or while they are working.

16 3) Well-connected and transparent education, training, credentialing, and support services to facilitate progress along the pathway and ensure participants can get credit for their education and experience in the future.

17 It’s also important for career pathways to integrate four key functions:


19 The Rochester Medical Careers Healthcare Career Pathway in Minnesota provides a real- world example.

20 The region’s largest health care employer, Mayo Clinics, as well as other employer partners (such as area long-term care facilities), help shape the pathway's various programs to meet their workforce needs.

21 The first program within this pathway, the Minnesota FastTRAC Pathway program, trains participants to become Advanced Hospital Certified Nursing Assistants (C.N.A.).

22 A staff person called a “navigator” provides guidance, helps participants get the support they need (e.g., child care, transportation, financial aid), mitigating non-academic barriers so that participants can complete their education and secure employment.

23 One of the early entry points is tailored specifically to low-income and low- skilled adults and starts with several courses that teach foundational skills in the context of health care.

24 From there, participants enter Rochester Community & Technical College to begin their training and pursue an Advanced Hospital C.N.A. credential.

25 Once that credential is acquired, the main exit point from the Minnesota FastTRAC Pathway program is an Advanced Hospital C.N.A. job with one of several employer partners.

26 Becoming a C.N.A. is just the first step. The partners have also created seamless transitions for participants into subsequent career pathway programs. Credits earned in MN FastTRAC count toward these pathways.


28 The Rochester pathway is one example among many in Minnesota. From 2009-2012, MN FastTRAC programs received funding from multiple federal, state, and philanthropic sources and served 3,385 individuals, achieving superior results and outcomes compared to other education and training programs.


30 Career pathways are being established and supported in numerous states. But if they are to be sustained and expanded in decades to come, we need a strong underlying infrastructure.

31 This means a shared vision and strong career pathway systems in states and communities that make this approach feasible and effective.

32 To help improve, scale, and sustain career pathway systems, the 10 states in the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways (AQCP) created a consensus framework that provides a clear set of criteria and indicators.

33 These quality standards will make it easier for funders, practitioners, and participants to identify and support strong career pathways.

34 The framework also establishes a set of participant metrics, which includes credential and labor market outcomes, as well as interim metrics designed to measure the progress of participants along pathways. Many of the AQCP metrics are similar to those in the new federal workforce law.

35 Alliance partners are excited to begin early implementation of the framework. For instance, the framework has informed Virginia’s annual Workforce Report Card, Illinois’ longitudinal data system, Wisconsin’s campus-based career pathway coordinators, and Kentucky colleges’ development of new career pathways in their state.

36 Other states and regions are beginning to use the framework to guide the development of quality, comprehensive, scalable, and sustainable pathways and systems. To learn more about the AQCP framework, visit

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