In today’s quickly evolving world, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a high-paying job or long-term stability. In fact, a large percentage of vacant positions and industry occupations over the next 10 years will require some form of postsecondary education. A “skills gap” has developed in which our students often lack the needed knowledge and soft skills to be career ready in our modern workforce. By expanding our vision of “college and career readiness” to include braided academic and career-oriented counseling, which promotes not only a solid academic portfolio but also 21st century soft skills, we can create successful pathways for our students.
In June 2012, Tennessee joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a multi-state consortium with the common goal of ensuring more youth complete high school and attain a postsecondary credential with strong currency in today’s labor market. This sought-after membership came in response to the Pathways to Prosperity report, which was published in February 2011 by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The Tennessee state network (Pathways Tennessee) was formed in December 2012 with the creation of the State Planning & Implementation Team and the identification of two pilot regions in Tennessee (Upper Cumberland and Southeast). The mission of Pathways Tennessee is to provide Tennessee students rigorous academic/career pathways, which are linked to economic and labor market needs and trends. These pathways must: (1) have multiple entry and exit points in education, (2) transition seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary, allowing for college credit and industry certifications in high school, and (3) encourage/support active industry involvement in student learning. Pathways Tennessee is a statewide initiative and is sustained through regional leadership with various levels of support through cross agency collaborations at the state level.
Image Credit: Corporate Voices for Working Families
About the Pathways to Prosperity Network
The Pathways to Prosperity Network is a collaboration between the Pathways to Prosperity Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), Jobs for the Future (JFF), and nine states (California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee) focused on ensuring that many more young people complete high school and attain a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market. The goal is to support young people in entering an initial career while leaving open the prospect of further education. To accomplish this goal, states are engaging employers and educators to build grades 7th-14th/16th career pathways system for high school aged students. Each state is led by a coalition of stakeholders. The work initially focuses on two to three regional labor markets within each state, but the long-term goal is to create a statewide system of career pathways that can serve the majority of students.
Program Manager: Nicholas Hansen