Six Key Elements of Career Pathways
The Six Key Elements Definition and Framework was developed by the US Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration, in partnership with the US Department of Education – Office of Vocational and Adult Education; Jobs for the Future; and Social Policy Research Associates. It is designed to support state and local teams working collaboratively to develop and implement a comprehensive career pathways system.
Career Pathways Definition
The term “career pathway programs” means a clear sequence of education coursework and/or
training credentials that include the following components.
- Are aligned with the skill needs of industries important to the regional or state economies in which they are located, and reflect the active engagement of employers in targeted industry sectors regarding the skill requirements for employment or career progression in high demand occupations.
- Include the full range of secondary, adult education, and postsecondary education options, including registered apprenticeship, with a non-duplicative progression of courses clearly articulated from one level of instruction to the next, with opportunities to earn postsecondary credits and lead to industry-recognized [and/or] postsecondary credentials;
- Include curriculum and instructional strategies that make work a central context for learning (contextual learning) and help students attain work readiness skills;
- Include, as appropriate for the individual, integrated education and training that combine occupational skills training with adult education services, give credit for prior learning, and adopt other strategies that accelerate the educational and career advancement of the participant.
- Lead to the attainment of an industry-recognized degree or credential, which may include stackable credentials of value in the labor market and that articulate progressively to higher-level credentials or degrees.
- Help a worker enter or advance within a specific sector or occupational field, regardless of their skills at the point of entry.
- Include academic and career counseling, wrap-around support services particularly at points of transition, and support the development of an individual career plan.
- Are organized to meet the particular needs of adults, including childcare, accommodating work schedules with flexible and non-semester-based scheduling, alternative class times and locations, and the innovative use of technology.
- Have the goal of increasing an individual’s educational and skills attainment and employment outcomes.
[ Developed on behalf of the Career Pathways Initiative, sponsored by the US Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration. ]