Voices and Viewpoints

Career Pathways Crosswalk Brief Released by OCCRL

by Cathy Kirby / Jul 28, 2014

The concept of organizing educational courses and programs of study that span secondary and postsecondary instruction into a comprehensive career pathways framework is gaining traction across the United States. The career pathways approach typically includes intensive and proactive academic advising and supportive services, transparent curriculum roadmaps for students to follow, curriculum alignment, multiple entry points into the pathways including through adult education and more features. The Illinois Community College Board is currently considering ways in which its robust programs of study framework, supported by guiding principles and design elements, can be expanded to include elements of a more comprehensive career pathways approach. To support this effort, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership conducted a research study to examine some leading career pathways frameworks. Elements of eight career pathways frameworks were crosswalked to the six Guiding Principles and Design Elements for Illinois Programs of Study (2009). Though there are many career pathways frameworks in existence, we chose eight that represent a sample of comprehensive approaches that might have the closest application to the momentum of thought leaders in the state.

A new Brief, “Guiding Principles for Programs of Study and Career Pathways” is being released by OCCRL this week that reveals the outcomes of this crosswalk. We hope readers will find the condensed information interesting; the format reveals several key elements that are common among approaches. As we state in the Brief, it is important to examine supporting documents in the reference list for details on each of the frameworks. Please contact us for any questions or comments about this crosswalk; we invite your input.

Cathy Kirby is a Research Information Specialist at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership. Her research interests include examining and scaling innovations in career pathways and programs of study initiatives.

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