A career pathway is not a program, but a systemic framework for a new way of doing business in our high schools, colleges, and communities. The ultimate goal is for pathways to provide a seamless system of career exploration, preparation, and skill upgrades linked to academic credits and credentials, available with multiple entry and exit points spanning middle school, high school, post-secondary institutions, adult education, and workplace education.
Career pathways are a critical economic development tool with a focus on the labor market demands of industry sectors that are important to the regional economy. Employers must drive the development and strengthening of secondary school career pathways to ensure predicted talent shortages in STEM career fields are reduced, and that students–especially those from underrepresented communities–will have access to sustainable-wage jobs and advancement opportunities.
Regardless of the funding mechanisms utilized to create, strengthen and sustain career pathways, Bay Area LEEDS supports the successful ‘linked learning’ approach to education based on the idea that students work harder and dream bigger if their education is relevant to them. Students also respond enthusiastically to learning that is delivered through project-based learning, which is why we focus our career pathways support with schools implementing Project Lead The WayR curriculum which is aligned to industry skills development.
Career Pathways are organized around industry-sector themes like Health & BioTech, Engineering, Building & Construction, Computer Sciences, etc. The industry theme is informed through input from working professionals, and reinforced by work-based learning with real employers. This helps students answer the question, “Why do I need to learn this?”