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EdWeek Article: States Expand High-Quality Career Pathways

More states are embracing career pathways to increase the relevance of education for students and provide more opportunities for postsecondary credential and degree attainment. A recent article from Education Week highlights states’ work in this area and Tennessee Career Technical Education (CTE) State Director Danielle Mezera’s approach to funding career pathways.

Many states implement career pathways but the strategy recently received a greater push due to the release of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Pathways to Prosperity report and initiative. With the assistance of Harvard and Jobs for the Future, eight states are creating higher-quality pathways that link to labor market demands. For example:

  • In Tennessee, education leaders are planning to begin CTE as early as 7th grade. The state is also working on regional projects that better link programs of study. As CTE State Director, Mezera has changed Tennessee’s reserve fund from the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act into a competitive grant for regions implementing career pathways that meet high-level criteria. Tennessee is also working to close CTE programs that are no longer preparing students for relevant careers.
  • In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is working to replicate the successful model used by Pathways in Technology Early College High School in 10 additional schools.
  • In Georgia, the state board of education recently approved a new requirement for all freshmen to take at least one introductory course in a Career Cluster®, such as energy or information technology.
  • In Illinois, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Learning Exchanges are being created to engage more secondary students in jobs in high-growth STEM fields. The learning exchanges serve as intermediaries between education partners and businesses and industry to develop curricula, provide training for educators, and to provide educators with input on course content and structure.

The article also highlights the necessity of strong business partnerships to implementing successful career pathways. Of note, several state partners are looking into the Swiss model that relies on professional associations to help identify student competencies, which would provide more consistency in student preparedness across the state.

Access the article here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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