College and Career Pathway Development

Clear pathways to college and career provide critical support for students in their transition into successful careers. Early access and exposure to sector-based pathways supports students in setting goals and choosing a program of study.

Characteristics of clear pathways include:

    • High school academies and community college programs align to help students advance and accelerate
    • Pathways are mapped to facilitate student understanding and allow seamless transitions (and do not include duplicative curriculum)
    • Learning is aligned with industry-recognized certifications and stackable certificates, providing opportunities for students to build skills and a portfolio related to their chosen field
    • Pathways include integrated and rigorous CTE and academic content so that students reach milestones and earn certificates along the way to completing degrees and transfers
    • Students have the opportunity to earn and learn as they explore a career field; internships and other work-based learning is available to support the advancement in college and career

Research supporting the pathways concept

Developing a Road Map for Student Success: Facilitating the Establishment of Articulation between High Schools and CCCs in CTE areas – Kris Costa, ASCCC & Michelle Pilati, ASCCC/Rio Hondo College, Strengthening Student Success Conference, October 9, 2013

The presentation covers the various opportunities for curriculum development, including development of C-ID descriptors, model curriculum, articulation templates and local programs of study.

Portable, Stackable Credentials: A New Education Model for Industry-specific Career Pathways – James T. Austin, Gail O. Mellow, Mitch Rosin, Marlene B. Seltzer, November 2012

At the core of a 21st century, responsive education system are portable and stackable credentials that enable students of all ages to build careers with family-sustaining, middle class incomes. In such a system, students have the opportunity to both learn and earn by acquiring shorter-term credentials with clear labor market value even as they continue to build on these to access more advanced jobs and higher wages.

Strengthening Transitions by Encouraging Career Pathways: A Look at State Policies and Practices –  CCRC, Katherine L. Hughes & Melinda Mechur Karp, 2006

This report identifies ways in which state policies can support students’ academic and labor market success by creating coherent systems of preparation for students entering technical fields. In particular, the report focuses on state policies that support the implementation of career pathways, such as those encouraged by the U.S. Department of Education’s College and Career Transitions Initiative, which span secondary and postsecondary education and culminate in rewarding careers.