Template for Getting Started with Career Pathways

As you're filling this out, consider key partners, what already exists that fits a career pathways framework, what needs to be developed that does not already exist, and what needs to happen to fully implement a career pathways model for adult education.

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Component Elements

State-Level Decision Points


1. Program Design

  • Work with all partners in a community-wide career pathways learning system to clearly define the role of adult education in the broader system.
  • Provide an orientation to career pathways for students.
  • Help each student develop a career pathways plan.
  • Offer a continuum of instruction from basic skills (including English language) to the skills and knowledge needed for postsecondary readiness (without remediation) and for family-sustaining jobs.
  • Provide programs and supports to ensure a smooth transition from Adult Education programs to postsecondary education and training.
  • Provide accelerated pathways through the system so students can move ahead as quickly as possible.
  • Accommodate work schedules and other responsibilities of adult students.
  • Who are the key partners we need to involve in the planning process?
  • How do we define the role of Adult Education in the broader context of career pathways?
  • Do we know the high-demand occupations in our region? If so, what are they and what are the skill requirements for career progression in those occupations?
  • Which of these occupations lend themselves to career pathways appropriate for adult education students?
  • Are there postsecondary or adult career technical certificate programs already developed for some of these occupations for which adult education could develop “feeder” readiness programs?
  • Do we want to develop different levels of certificates that would progress from basic skills to postsecondary readiness? If so, how many levels do we want and what criteria will be used to issue the certificates?
  • Who can explore the existing integrated models for each certificate level to determine their appropriateness and level of adaptation needed for Maine?
  • Will we offer specialized career pathways classes to accelerate pathways through the system or will the pathways be integrated within existing classes or both?
  • What staffing positions will be necessary for effective implementation of our pathways framework (e.g., counselors/advisors, instructors, curriculum developers, professional developers, etc.).
  • What guidance or models do we need to provide related to student orientation and intake to help students develop a career pathways plan?
  • Based on our available funding, how can we phase in our career pathways framework?


2. Curriculum & Instruction

  • Make post-secondary education and training and work readiness the goal of the curriculum.
  • Make work a central context for the curriculum.
  • Use instructional strategies that help adults learn by doing.
  • Manage the classroom in ways that enhance readiness for postsecondary education and training and work.
  • Make extensive and appropriate use of technology for instruction.
  • Who can research the contextualized curriculum included in the integrated models being used by others to determine adaptations to fit adult education in Maine?
  • Who can develop contextualized curriculum for our selected career pathways and make sure that curriculum and instruction focuses on work and helps adults learn by doing?
  • Is our technology capacity at the local level sufficient to include a strong technology component within your pathways model?
  • Do we have crosswalks between our State-approved assessment tools and various college entrance exams to help guide curriculum development and instruction?


3. Assessment & Credentialing

  • Use assessment tools (including assessments of work and postsecondary readiness) to place students in appropriate programs, help them develop career pathways plans and periodically assess their progress.
  • Base advancement policy on assessments of skills and knowledge.
  • What assessment tools will we use to determine appropriate student placement into the appropriate level and help adult learners develop career pathway plans?
  • What assessment tools will we use to help students measure their progress?
  • What assessments (including assessments of work and postsecondary readiness) will we use to determine completion of certificate levels of career pathways?


4. High Quality Teaching

  • Require high standards and recognized teaching credentials for adult education teaching staff.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and classroom supports for adult education teachers.
  • Who will develop and deliver specialized professional development for the curriculum, classroom management and instructional strategies that instructors will need to teach the integrated models?
  • Will we develop a specialized job description for career pathways instructors?
  • Will our career pathways model involve other classroom supports, such as new materials or classroom management procedures, at the local level? Do we have the funds to purchase these?
  • How will we prepare all teachers to support adult learners with career pathways goals?


5. Support and Follow-up Services to Encourage Access and Retention

  • Make high-quality counseling a priority.
  • Partner with providers in the community to provide case management services to students, including comprehensive social and academic supports.
  • How can we develop a counseling component to help adult students develop career pathway plans and provide ongoing support?
  • How will we market our pathways system to other agencies, to adult education practitioners and to adult students?



6. Connections to the Business Community

  • Focus instruction on the needs of industries and occupations in which there is a strong demand for labor.
  • Develop partnerships with employers.
  • Once we have identified our high-demand occupations, how can we involve the business community in the development of career pathways in adult education for those occupations?




7. Monitoring & Accountability Systems

  • Develop customer-friendly performance information.
  • Track longitudinal data on learning gains and employment outcomes.
  • Use data to improve programs.
  • What criteria and processes will we use to measure the effectiveness of our career pathways effort?
  • How can we track longitudinal data on learning gains and employment outcomes?