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Career Pathways Design


Strong Workforce Task Force Recommendation #3 states: “Develop and broadly publicize industry-informed career pathways that prepare students for jobs needed within the regional labor market.”. Below are helpful resources:

Career Pathway Systems

System frameworks for career pathway partnerships

Design of Career Pathway Programs

Comprehensive education and employment service innovations for disparately impacted populations delivered through regional partnerships

Two federal laws, the Higher Education Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, share this definition of career pathway: a combination of rigorous and high-quality education, training and other services that (A) aligns with the skill needs of the economy; (B) prepares an individual to be successful in any of a full range of secondary or postsecondary education options including apprenticeships; (C) includes counseling to support an individual in achieving the individual's education and career goals; (D) includes, as appropriate, education offered concurrently with and in the same context as workforce preparation activities and training for a specific occupation or occupational cluster; (E) organizes education, training, and other services to meet the particular needs of an individual in a manner that accelerates the educational and career advancement of the individual to the extent practicable; (F) enables an individual to attain a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent, and at least 1 recognized postsecondary credential; and (G) helps an individual enter or advance within a specific occupation or occupational cluster.

What are Guided Pathways

Community college redesign to shift from “cafeteria college” to guided pathways including a program vs course designed structure, intake and student supports, instructional strategies to move from ‘knowledge transmission’ to ‘learning facilitation,’ and developmental education redesigned as a program onramp

Guided pathways can fit the HEA and WIOA career pathway definition above if there is intentional partnership to address these components: (A) sector focus; (C) career counseling; (G) specific occupational advancement.

California Specific Models of Career Pathway Reforms

Exemplar Case Studies

Other Helpful Resources


The Opportunity
For community colleges to become essential catalysts to California’s economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.

The Strategy
Doing What MATTERS for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The four prongs are:

  • Give Priority for Jobs and the Economy
  • Make Room for Jobs and the Economy
  • Promote Student Success
  • Innovate for Jobs and the Economy
California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office