On September 23, 2014 the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, for a day of discussion around the future of the career pathways movement.
Looking to build on the momentum surrounding the recent passage and ongoing implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the day presented a diverse array of stakeholders with the opportunity to describe the promise of career pathways, as well as the challenges inherent in implementing a system that touches education, workforce development and social services. It was a day full of constructive dialogue reinforcing the notion that people at all levels of the process are ready to work together to make sure students are both college and career ready upon graduation.
The event began by highlighting how pathways fit into the Obama Administration’s goal to construct “ladders of opportunity,” and ensure that graduates are coming out of school with the skills that they need to thrive in the modern economy, noting the repeated references to career pathways in the Vice President’s report Ready to Work: Job Driven Training and American Opportunity. Citing their ongoing work in encouraging state-level career pathways systems, representatives from each of the three hosting departments (as well as meeting attendees) voiced enthusiasm about the prospect of deeper collaboration at the federal level while agreeing that industry, communities and the public must also take part in the process.
NASDCTEc President Scott Stump, State Director of CTE in Colorado, sat on the panel “Advancing Career Pathways Systems.” Representing a postsecondary-led career pathways system, President Stump described Colorado’s evolution toward career pathways approach as the product of close collaboration between secondary and postsecondary leaders, as well as key leaders from business and industry. President Stump was joined on the panel by Judy Montrude of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Zoe G. Thompson of the Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Board of Regents, CharlotteWorks’ Steve Partridge and Nancy Dischinat from the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board, each of whom echoed his sentiments that a career pathways system cannot be built unilaterally, but must be built in consultation with stakeholders from every phase of the career pathway process. They also echoed his sentiment that, while worth it, that process can be hard work!
“Yesterday was really enjoyable,” President Stump said. “It presented a great chance for our community to once again remind those involved in pathways that Career Technical Education is the critical core to any career pathway system, because it’s about more than one course or one diploma. Career pathways are about providing people with a sequence of learning and an arsenal of skills that they can carry with them into the workforce and continue to tap throughout their careers.”
Evan Williamson, Communications Associate