Within education circles, we often talk about Career Pathways. This month I was on the Edmonds College Materials Science degree page and wondered what students think when they hear that career pathways phrase? It seems obvious to me, and to you, perhaps to all of us in or near education.
But, what do the students think?
Do they draw a blank? Have they stopped to think about “Career Pathways” and what it means?
When a school talks about a “Career Pathway,” they’re talking about a set of courses, programs, and experiences that are specifically designed to get a student ready for a certain career field or industry.
It also started me wondering if there are standards or requirements for “career pathways” when descriptions are created? Do colleges adhere to these? I found out that colleges and universities are generally not required to adhere to specific standards or requirements when creating “career pathways” programs, as they are not regulated by any particular government agency or accrediting body. However, some organizations and accrediting bodies do provide guidelines and best practices for institutions to follow when creating career pathway programs.
However, there are organizations that strive to provide pathways that make sense. For example, the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) is a national organization that provides resources and support for creating and improving career pathways programs, which is based on the Career Pathways Framework that includes four key elements: academic and technical skills, employability skills, leadership and workplace skills, and support services.
Additionally, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has developed the Guided Pathways framework which is a comprehensive approach to student success and improved completion. This framework includes the following key elements: clear pathways, structured scheduling, integrated support services, and use of technology.
While these guidelines and best practices are not binding, many colleges and universities do choose to adopt them in order to ensure that their career pathway programs are effective and well-designed. Some states also have their own policies and guidelines for creating career pathway programs. It is also worth noting that these frameworks and guidelines are not mandatory but they can be used as a helpful tool for colleges and universities to improve their career pathway programs.
So, briefly, since this page Career Path in Materials Science at Edmonds College on MatEdU inspired this post, I thought you might find their approach helpful, too.
Also, here is another resource from the well-known Getting Smart team: New Pathways.
What are you doing to develop and create Career Pathways that make sense for your students? Let me know – I’d love to hear about it.