VCCS Definition of Career Pathways
Career pathways articulate the learning requirements, across educational and training levels, through which a student can prepare for skilled employment in a specific industry cluster and, from there, to continued education and career progression. Career pathways are developed through partnerships among secondary and postsecondary education, employers, and community agencies. Career pathways serve the emerging and incumbent workforce, from high school students to unemployed and underemployed adults.
Refer to this document for some specific examples of career pathways and their associated clusters.
Envisioning career pathways as a stimulus for change and reform in education and training of all levels, the VCCS currently defines a model career pathway as meeting the following criteria:
- Career pathways optimize progression in education and training.
Examples of methods include: articulation, dual-enrollment, credits by examination, credits for experiential learning, credits for apprenticeship, and more.
- Career pathways develop and assess academic, technical, and employability skills.
Examples of methods include: integration of academic and career and technical skills development in the curricular program, interdisciplinary instruction, project-based learning and more.
- Career pathways offer opportunities to earn industry recognized credentials
Examples of credentials include: associate or baccalaureate degrees, certification of completion of apprenticeship, college certificates, industry certifications, licensures, and more.
- Career pathways offer experience-based learning.
Examples of methods include: apprenticeships, cooperative education; internships; service learning; business-based, project-based learning, and more.
- Career pathways develop career planning and career management skills.
Examples of methods include: career coaching, career planning across the curriculum; and discipline specific college orientations.
- Career pathways promote access to success through custom designed services for learners of all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and cultures.
Examples of methods include: learning communities, early college placement testing and advising, modularized instruction, competency-based programs, fast track programs, services to connect students to transportation and child care and more.