NCPN Connections

The National Career Pathways Network’s Connections newsletter offers news and resources for Career Pathways stakeholders. Highlights from the most recent issue include:

The Career Pathways Effect: Linking Education and Economic Prosperity

Designed as a how-to guidebook for administrators, faculty, counselors, and business partners, The Career Pathways Effect brings together the observations of 27 national experts on career-technical education (CTE), Career Pathways, and programs of study. Learn from experienced leaders as they offer guidance to states, districts, colleges, and business leaders on systemic improvement and innovation in the development of Career Pathways. Order online.

Adult Career Pathways: Providing a Second Chance in Public Education, 2nd Edition (2011)

This book challenges educators, employers, and policymakers to work together in their communities to remove barriers and find solutions in creating their own qualified workforce. Focused on the complex needs of adult students and the institutions that serve them, the book offers resources and best practices for building programs and systems that will effectively prepare adult learners for college and career success. Order online.

Thriving in Challenging Times: Connecting Education to Economic Development Through Career Pathways

Thriving in Challenging Times profiles 17 local and regional Career Pathways programs from across the U.S. by documenting the challenges, strategies, results, and business engagement each partnership has experienced. Produced by CORD’s National Career Pathways Network and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this publication highlights programs from diverse industry sectors and includes a checklist for Career Pathways planning in your community. Download.

Designing and Delivering Career Pathways at Community Colleges: A Practice Guide for EducatorsWWC-PraxGuide PDF

A new publication from the National Center for Education Evaluation at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) provides practical advice for two-year postsecondary Career Pathways practitioners. The publication highlights five recommendations and related strategies and resources on effective Career Pathways program designs, instructional methods, delivery models, student supports, and partnerships. Go to resource.

Employer Engagement Toolkit

CORD’s Employer Engagement Toolkit is designed to help colleges identify new areas for engagement, implement engagement activities, and manage their partnerships. The toolkit provides employer viewpoints, college best practices, and case studies of successful engagement activities. The toolkit focuses on helping colleges achieve results such as increased enrollment, increased hiring rate of graduates, and better alignment between skills and curriculum.

Employer Engagement Study Report

Funded by the ECMC Foundation, CORD’s 2021 report titled A Look at Partnerships Between Employers and Community and Technical Colleges: Observations and Recommendations presents an analysis of data collected through a study of employer engagement in career-technical programs at community and technical colleges. The study focuses specifically on employer motivations to engage, perceived employer benefits and return on investment, and how employer engagement impacts colleges’ ability to develop and deliver effective workforce development programs. Download.

BILT Toolkit

The Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) model puts businesses in a co-leadership role in college technical programs so they have direct input into the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) that program graduates should possess 12–36 months into the future, ultimately producing candidates that businesses are much more likely to hire. The BILT Toolkit provides guidelines regarding the recruitment of BILT members, preparation for KSA analysis meetings, participant roles, and other logistics.

Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work

Technology advances are changing industries at an unprecedented pace, demanding an ever-expanding array of knowledge, skills, and abilities from technicians in the STEM disciplines. Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work is conducting regional activities with employers and educators to help transform technician education at the associate degree level. Learn how this CORD-led NSF ATE initiative is preparing technicians for the workplace of tomorrow through informative podcastsblogs, and newsletters.

Introduction to Stackable Credentials

The approach by community and technical colleges of embedding “stackable” certificates aligned to industry certifications within associate degrees has emerged in recent years as a practical way of helping students progress along the education continuum while earning credentials with labor market value. By organizing programs into a series of certificates that build on each other, colleges can offer incremental milestones on the path to associate degree completion.

Introduction to Stackable Credentials provides practical steps for enhancing employer engagement, designing programs with stackable credentials, supporting student completion, and sustaining programs responsive to employer needs. Each section offers resources, tools, and promising practices.

Necessary Skills Now Network

This NSF ATE coordination network facilitates collaboration between educators and employers to improve the employability skills of entry-level technicians in STEM fields. The NSN Network offers no-cost instructional resources and professional development to support employability skills instruction.

NC-NET Employability Skills Resource Toolkit

This toolkit provides activities, student handouts, assessment rubrics, and annotated presentation slides designed to help instructors address eight employability competencies: interpersonal skills and teamwork, communications, integrity and professionalism, problem-solving and decision making, initiative and dependability, information processing, adaptability and lifelong learning, and entrepreneurship.

REACT Strategy

CORD’s approach to contextual teaching and learning takes the form of five essential learner engagement strategies that we refer to collectively as REACT: Relating, Experiencing, Applying, Cooperating, and Transferring. See this handout for more.

Contextual Teaching Toolkit

This resource features an overview of the cognitive theories that support a contextual teaching approach and provides templates for developing contextual lessons that help students make meaningful connections between abstract concepts and practical workplace applications. Resources for developing integrated, scenario-based instructional projects are also provided to support faculty in their efforts to bring authentic workplace context into their classrooms.

Contextual Teaching Materials

CORD has developed both science and mathematics instructional materials based on the contextual teaching approach. Explore our series for high school students.

Physics in Context conver

Algebra 1 cover

Algebra 2 cover

Geometry cover

Bridges cover

Algebra 1 cover

Math That Works cover

ABC Technologies Chemistry cover