Career pathways offer a clear sequence of coursework and credentials aligned with the natural paths of advancement in an industry, and often across similar occupations in related industries, for students, job seekers, and incumbent workers returning to school.
When done right, career pathway programs engage regularly with employers in their target industry so as to constantly and accurately assess the skills and knowledge they need and re-calibrate curricula, programs, and credentials. They also coordinate among multiple education and training providers to build a complex of courses and credentials that impart and demonstrate qualifications from work readiness to advanced-level skills. No single education institution can do this alone. In reality, effective career pathways are therefore not programs; they are systems. They rely on the same key principles as effective sector partnerships: convening a core group of employers in the target industry to drive curriculum and credential development along career pathways and across occupations in their industry.