As more and more workers pursue multiple types of credentials and combine earned credentials from multiple states and institutions to secure and advance their careers, the public needs quality information about career pathways. State agencies, regional workforce boards, and postsecondary education providers have supported these needs by creating career pathways specific to their geographic context. Like helpful transit maps that lay out relevant destinations, routes, and connection points, these pathways help everyone identify career goals and form career plans based on sequences of required credentials, competencies, jobs, courses, and more.
If implemented well, pathways have the potential to help address inequities that continue to plague America by building a stronger foundation for individuals to maximize their own human potential. But to be effective, all this rich pathway information needs to be well communicated to users in forms that they can easily use to make relevant decisions.
Multiple stakeholders stand to benefit from better career pathways:
- Students and learners can see all of their options for securing and advancing their careers.
- Workers can explore how their earned credentials and achievements connect to existing and emerging pathways.
- Education and training providers can communicate that the credentials they offer are connected into valuable pathways.
- Curriculum developers can contextualize their instructional, assessment, and credentialing innovations.
- Employers can articulate specific job requirements, competencies, and career progressions using the same language as credential providers.
- State agencies can promote student success via credential connections within their state and across the region.
Research from an MCTA Pathways Action Team found 692 different pathways across the Midwest. While progress towards pathways is occurring at multiple levels across the Midwest region, the emerging challenge is to ensure that these pathways are consistently articulated, well connected, and supported by policies, practices, communications, and role responsibilities. To help guide these developments, the action team articulated a pathway maturity model for the Midwest region. Read the full brief to learn more.