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Career Pathways Initiatives

CORD provides technical assistance in career pathways development to practitioners across the country. Below are a few examples of our work in this area. If your institution, community, or state is seeking guidance and support in your career pathways system building efforts, contact us to learn more about how our team can assist yours.

Federal Projects

Moving Pathways Forward

The recently completed Moving Pathways Forward project, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, assisted states in advancing career pathways systems to transition lower-skilled adults to postsecondary education and employment. The project provided technical assistance to states to further integrate adult education into broader career pathways systems at the state and local levels. Additionally, the project launched the Career Pathways Exchange information service to better connect all stakeholders to career pathways resources and events. In partnership with Manhattan Strategy Group and Abt Associates, CORD delivered technical assistance to the adult education agency staff of eight states, served as the content lead for the Career Pathways Exchange, and co-developed the Career Pathways Planner, a tool for state leaders to promote local systems development.

Designing Instruction for Career Pathways

In partnership with Kratos Learning, CORD staff supported major components of the ED-OCTAE initiative Designing Instruction for Career Pathways. CORD staff served as developers of ACP News, a bi-monthly e-newsletter highlighting state efforts in adult career pathways. The CORD team was also responsible for developing an online collection of curriculum for adult career pathways programs; developing content for online professional development courses (Developing Effective Bridge Programs, Designing Contextualized Instruction, and Engaging Employers in Adult Career Pathways), developing the issue brief Engaging Employers in Adult Career Pathways, and designing a regional professional development workshop to train adult education faculty on contextualized instruction strategies.

State Projects

Customized Online Course for NC Pathways Coordinators

Under contract to the North Carolina Community College System, CORD developed an online self-paced course to support the needs of local career pathways grant coordinators. Building and Sustaining Career Pathways is designed to offer information, guidance, and resources for local coordinators responsible for career pathways program coordination from the community and technical college vantage point. Course content is organized into five modules including: Career Pathways 101, Partnerships as the Basis for a Career Pathways Transformation, Engaging Employers, Program Design, and Managing the Moving Parts. Each module is supported by related resources from the field and corresponding action-planning activities. The course discusses how to create and sustain career pathways programs with an emphasis on effective employer engagement strategies.

Regional/Local Projects

Alief Independent School District Employer Engagement Project

In anticipation of construction of a new career center, Alief Independent School District (Alief ISD), located in southwest Houston, TX, contracted with CORD to engage employers to assist with curriculum and laboratory decision-making. With a student population of over 47,000, the district offers extensive career and technical education programs and services and sought to broaden the vital partnerships between Houston-area businesses and Alief ISD to better assure that its students are solidly on their way to both productive careers and access to higher education. CORD convened leaders from industry sectors in Healthcare, Construction Trades, and Hospitality/Tourism, providing significant information and recommendations to guide program improvements in technical and employability skills development, support facility planning, and lay the groundwork for continued industry partnering.

Dallas County Community College District Career Pathways Readiness Project

With seven colleges and a significant array of career and technology programs and services, the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), located in Dallas, TX, contracted with CORD to provide an external perspective on DCCCD’s quest to improve its career pathways programs and raise them to higher levels of program effectiveness and systems development.┬áCORD utilized the U.S. Department of Labor’s six elements of career pathways as an assessment framework, collected extensive data from the district around the six elements, and interviewed staff at all seven colleges to formulate recommended actions steps for the district.

Southwest Oklahoma Career Pathways Project

Under contract to the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition (SOIC), CORD led a regional career pathways development project for southwestern Oklahoma, funded by a U.S. Department of Labor Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) grant. SOIC is a collaboration of five colleges and universities, two economic development planning districts, and the twenty counties of southwestern Oklahoma. The focus of the project was to develop career pathway models for four targeted industries: manufacturing, healthcare, utilities, and simulations. Major project activities included developing and conducting industry-specific forums with CEOs in the region to determine perceived workforce needs, both current and future; developing and conducting career pathways visioning sessions with educators and community service partners; developing career ladders for twelve high-demand occupations; conducting professional development for educators; and developing a regional implementation plan for career pathways.

Florida Career Pathways Technical Assistance

The Florida Adult Education Career Pathways (AECP) project was a joint initiative of the Florida Department of Education and the Adult and Community Educators of Florida. CORD was contracted to research regional economies for career cluster demand, develop content for adult career pathways workshops, and deliver workshops throughout the state of Florida aligned with Florida's Regional Training Councils. The workshops supported Florida's eight areas of AECP focus: program design, curriculum and instruction, professional development, student support, assessment, partnerships, marketing, and accountability. A follow-on project produced an online toolkit that addresses essentials of career pathways, partnership development strategies, model frameworks, funding strategies, effective advisory committees, college and career readiness, and forms/resources customizable for local use.