Spring Meeting Recap: Federal Career Pathways Initiatives

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting where during one  session, participants heard updates on three national programs that are aiming to better coordinate and strengthen career pathways systems across states. Importantly, all of the presenters expressed an appreciation for each other’s efforts and noted that there was a lot of coordination across the projects.

Mary Clagett of Jobs for the Future discussed Advancing Career and Technical Education (CTE) in State and Local Career Pathways Systems, which is a federally-funded program working with a cohort of states to support, coordinate, and develop non-duplicative education and training programs that will help build skills among low skilled adults. The focus of the initial research and ongoing technical assistance in states is on identifying the most impactful programmatic and policy solutions to building and maintaining a strong career pathway system.

Similarly, the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, coordinated by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), is focused on supporting pathways for adults and disconnected youths. As described by Vickie Choitz of CLASP, the primary focus of the Alliance is developing a framework of quality criteria and indicators and a shared set of performance metrics to help align CTE programs of study, high school to college transitions, and adult career pathway across state. The framework will be customizable for states and include a self-assessment tool to ensure the framework is best meeting states’ needs. Ten states are currently participating in the Alliance.

Finally, participants learned more about CORD’s professional development and curriculum support for Adult Career Pathways. Hope Cotner of CORD talked about efforts of states, districts and institutions of higher education to design instruction to support career pathways and learning for students of all ages. You can download her presentation here.

During the discussion and Q&A period, participants again raised the issue of ensuring the federal government, national initiatives, states, and localities in using common definitions and language when using some common phrases as “career pathways” and “programs of study.”

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director


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