Career pathways programs are a valuable resource for young people looking to build practical skills in order to access meaningful careers and stable lives. These formal skill-building experiences are constructed to ensure that learners progress through — and master — a particular set of knowledge and skills that they can immediately use in the workforce.
In Expanding Opportunity: How States Can Accelerate the Use of Career Pathways Programs to Help Young People Access Meaningful Careers, we share case studies of career pathways initiatives in Texas, Ohio, and Colorado to help policymakers better understand the triumphs and challenges inherent in these programs amid a rapidly changing policy context.
Our analysis surfaced five recommendations for policymakers interested in supporting these programs:
- Leverage the bipartisan support that career pathways programs garner to grow and improve these programs.
- Increase teacher pay to attract high-quality teachers with industry credibility and expertise.
- Incentivize public-private partnerships between K-12 school district and university-based pathways programs and high-demand industries to improve the quality of these programs.
- Invest in communication efforts to highlight the benefits of pathways programs.
- Invest, at the state and federal level, in data systems and strategies to track program effectiveness and longitudinal program outcomes.