As our economy has changed, so has the needs of our workforce. The fact is that too many of our students find themselves unprepared for entry into a career—5.5 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither in college nor working in the U.S. At the same time, more than half of American companies have jobs they cannot fill, with employers reporting that applicant slack workplace and technical competencies.
Each child—particularly students from low-income communities, students of color, English learners and students with disabilities—should have access to a high-quality education that provides pathways into college and a career.
Schools can equip students with the tools and experiences they’ll need to be competitive in the job market by increasing opportunities for them to earn industry-recognized credentials and college credits, and participate in work-based learning.
Through career pathways, students can build real-world skills, explore career opportunities and find a career path that they are passionate about—even before they begin college. Students participating in career pathways are able to gain real-world experience in the high-demand careers our state’s employers are looking to fill, ranging from manufacturing to health. Often occurring during the school day, these experiences are integrated throughout the school curriculum and can help students make informed decisions about future career paths prior to deciding on a college experience, potentially saving students and their families money in the long-term.
For many students, career readiness is also college readiness. A majority 62 percent of students enrolled in a career pathway plan to enroll in college after high school, with three-quarters of students who complete a career pathway enrolling in college after graduation.