Building Benchmarks and Metrics for Quality Career Pathways - NCWE 2012
1. Building Benchmarks and Metrics
for Quality Career Pathways:
A State-Led Approach
Vickie Choitz and Marcie Foster, CLASP
National Council for Workforce Education Conference
October 22, 2012
Long Beach, CA
2. CLASP: Policy Solutions that Work for
• CLASP develops and advocates for policies that improve the lives of
• Our Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, launched in
2010, advocates for policies, investments, and political will that help
increase the number of income adults and out-of-school youth who
earn postsecondary credentials.
• CLASP managed the Shifting Gears initiative and provided technical
assistance to the six partner states. Shifting Gears supported state-
level inter-agency teams to build pathways to postsecondary
credentials for low-skilled adults in the Midwest.
4. Career Pathways:
A Brief Historical Perspective
• Rooted in longstanding approaches (apprenticeships, career ladders) and
expanded to include low-skilled adults and out-of-school youth over time.
• Backed by early signs of success through welfare-to-work evaluations of
programs that combined basic skills instruction with occupational training.
• Increased awareness though major reports on career pathways in
community colleges and sectors by the Workforce Strategy Center, Aspen
• Seeded innovation and took to scale promising practices through large-
scale, multi-site initiatives supporting career pathways and other strategies:
Bridges to Opportunity, NGA Pathways to Advancement, Breaking Through, Shifting Gears,
Transitions to College and Careers
• Backed by federal Guidance and technical assistance (Career Pathways
Institute, Joint Letter, competitive grants).
• Evaluation of CP Success through Innovative Strategies for Increasing Self-
• New efforts to scale promising I-BEST practices through Accelerating
5. A National Movement
• At least 12 states have significant career pathway efforts
aimed at adults or out of school youth.
AR, CA, FL, KY, IL, MA, OH, OR, VA, WA, WI
• At least 12 states have significant career pathway bridge
IL, IN, KY, KS, MD, MN, NC, OH, OR, VA, WA, WI
• Hundreds of local, career-focused basic skills bridge
programs, according to 2010 WSC bridge survey. Little
6. Career Pathways: The State of the Field
+ Significant experimentation at the local and state level
+ Early promising evidence of student success, credential
attainment, and positive labor market outcomes
+ Increasing interest in scaling, yet confusing array of
guidance on best practices and policies
+ Urgency to build new programs and systems because of
labor market needs and economic imperative for workers
= A need to develop evidence-based understanding of
high quality career pathway systems to move the
field forward and ensure quality.
7. Career Pathway Systems v. Programs
State Career Pathway System
Aligned program in Aligned program in Aligned program in
local CP local CP local CP
Types of Local
Local Career Pathway in a Single Institution
Aligned program in Multiple aligned programs in local CP
8. The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways
• The goal of AQCP is to identify a framework that defines a
high-quality career pathway system, including:
Benchmarks and quality indicators
Shared set of performance metrics for measuring and
managing their success.
• 10 Alliance States: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and
• National Advisory Group of ~10 national organizations.
• CLASP is the lead and facilitator.
9. The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways
• The final product of AQCP will be a customizable
framework and self-assessment tool that can be used to:
Enhance quality of existing career pathway efforts;
Fast track and improve new career pathway efforts;
Inform evaluation(s) of career pathway efforts.
• A beta framework will be launched in Spring 2013; Final
work will be completed in 2014 after Alliance states have
tested the appropriateness and usefulness of the
benchmarks, indicators, and metrics.
10. Building from Previous Work to Define
Components of Career Pathways
• The foundation of the AQCP framework will be the
previous work of partner organizations in the National
Advisory Group and other leader stakeholders, including
but not limited to:
Six Key Elements of Career Pathways, U.S. Department of
Framework for Developing a System of Linked Learning
Pathways, ConnectEd, 2011;
Guide to Adult Education for Work, National Center on
Education and the Economy, 2009; and
The Career Pathways How-To Guide, Workforce Strategy
Do you have suggestions?
11. Career Pathway Systems:
Core Elements and Overarching Principles
• Well-articulated sequence of quality offerings in an in-
demand industry or occupational sector based on
student-centered design and delivery methods;
• Multiple entry points (e.g. high school, adult ed,
• Multiple exit points aligned with stackable and
marketable postsecondary credentials;
• Appropriate and meaningful assessment of skills and
• Strong academic and non-academic supports,
navigation assistance; and
• Quality work experiences and employment opportunities.
12. Career Pathway Systems:
Core Elements and Overarching Principles
• Adopt and promote a shared vision across the system
• Exhibit strong leadership;
• Be responsive to specific and dynamic labor market
contexts and target populations;
• Be data-driven (e.g. industry demand and
populations, measuring student progress);
• Align policies, funding, and accountability measures;
• Work closely with employers, industry, and other
• Focus on sustainability and scale.
13. State Career
Responsive Data Alignment
to LM and driven Sustainability
target pop’s & scale
vision/strong Local Career and partners
leadership Pathway System
Data driven Sustainability
Responsive to Alignment & scale
LM and target
pop’s Employers and
Shared Local Career Pathway partners
vision/strong Core Elements
leadership - Sequence of offerings
- Multiple entry points
- Multiple credential exits
- Supports & navigation
- Work experiences &
14. Test Case:
Benchmarks and Quality Indicators
• Core Element: Strong academic and non-academic supports and navigation
assistance to help participants move through the system.
• Benchmark: Program staff and/or instructors work with students to identify
career goals and personal, financial, and academic barriers to their
persistence and success in the program.
Quality Indicator: Students have identified a career goal and potential
barriers to persistence and success.
• Benchmark: There is a systemic and transparent method by which students
are referred to and can access supportive services within an institution or
through partners, such as community-based partners.
Quality Indicator: Students have accessed necessary supportive
services to ensure persistence in the program.
The examples above are for illustrative purposes only. They are not representative of the
final Alliance framework.
15. How to Learn More and
Get Involved with AQCP
• If your state is an Alliance member, contact your state
lead to identify ways to participate in your “home team”
(contact Marcie for name).
• Sign up to receive the AQCP bi-annual newsletter with
updates on the Alliance’s progress and relevant career
• Visit our website: www.clasp.org/careerpathways.
16. Thank you!
Vickie Choitz, Project Director
Marcie Foster, Assistant Project Director
Visit our Website:
Sign up to receive a bi-annual newsletter regarding the progress on
AQCP and other relevant career pathways news.
17. Continuous Improvement Performance Measurement
Core Elements of Quality Programs
Interim Outcomes (tentative)
Indicators of Progress Toward Desired
Participant Outcomes Evidence-Based Indicators of Progress
Toward Desired Participant Outcomes
Indicators of Desired Participant