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Career Clusters® Institute Blog Series: All on Board the Engine Driving Wisconsin’s Career Pathways Initiative

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the Career Clusters ® Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Fort Worth, TX in June. Today’s guest blogger is Marge Rubin, College & Career Pathways Project Coordinator of the Wisconsin Career Pathways Website Project at Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI.CP_Orange_Web

With over 420 school districts in Wisconsin, each governed by a separate school board, how does a state get everyone involved in moving forward with developing Programs of Study?  By building a dynamic, data-driven Web site at www.WICareerPathways.org!  The site integrates development of secondary-to-postsecondary Programs of Study with students’ Plans of Study within Wisconsin’s Career Clusters’® framework.  Supported by the Wisconsin Technical College System through Perkins funding, a large inclusive cross-functional project team kicked off this initiative in 2008 and came up with a multi-phased plan.  Fox Valley Technical College took the lead on behalf of all 16 technical colleges to design and develop the Web site.

Our first step included arranging occupations and postsecondary programs by clusters and pathways.  Each cluster has its own webpage containing a brief description and links to the pathways within the cluster. Each pathway is presented on a separate webpage.  We created a web-based interactive tool that moves developers through a step-by-step process to create a visual depiction of a Program of Study.  Users can also access Wisconsin’s program-of study implementation guide and search and view a repository of published programs of study.

During the second phase, a site to help middle and high school students explore colleges and careers was developed.  By setting up an account at www.WICareerPathways/Students, students are driven to the Student Interest Survey for Career Clusters®.  After completing the survey, students land in a secure portal called MiLocker where a customized summary named MiClusters lists the 16 Career Clusters® in rank order based on survey results.  From the MiClusters listing, students can explore the 16 Career Clusters® and drill down into career pathways.  From the career pathways webpages, students can explore

  • Majors/programs of Wisconsin’s higher education sectors
  • An ample amount of specific career information
  • Programs of study from their high schools

With one easy click, students can turn a Program of Study created by their high school into their personal Plan of Study, which they can edit to reflect their personal path and save in MiLocker.  School counselors can guide students as they use the student site, assist in creating an online Plan of Study, and share the student site during student/parent conferences.

During the third phase, we turned our attention to the needs of middle and high school counselors.  Counselors can log in to a secure portal to access school-wide and individual student Web site activity.  The best-ever feature is that counselors can view what students have in their MiLocker profile, including Plans of Study.

The advantage of a web-based resource is that it allows for ongoing development.  What’s next?  We are expanding the site to include features for business and industry to connect with students.  Stay tuned!

Marge Rubin’s breakout session, All on Board the Engine Driving Wisconsin’s Career Pathways Initiative!, will be held Wednesday, June 12 from 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Rubin’s co-presenters are Jennifer Wagner, K-12 Relations Manager, Moraine Park Technical College, Fond du Lac, WI, and Jay Stulo, Director-Learning Innovations & Technology, Appleton, WI.

More about the Career Clusters® Institute

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

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