“America’s workforce is experiencing the perfect storm: our workers are lacking the skills needed to grow and strengthen the changing economy, yet the high costs of college as well as lack of opportunity to engage in college and career-based learning is preventing our students from acquiring those skills and getting good jobs.”
– Structured Pathways Systems in the Great Lakes Region: A Landscape Scan by MDRC, February 2015
Employers, educators and community members alike lament the economic challenges and racial disparities facing our country. In many ways it’s a never-ending cycle where:
Often each institution points its fingers at the other. High school educators state, “if only my students came to me prepared for high school”. College and university staff point towards the k-12 system, “kids today do not graduate with the skills needed to be successful in college” and employers point toward the secondary and postsecondary education system.
Over the years, each system, K -12, postsecondary and workforce has operated as separate islands. Our new American economy calls for a new way of working across systems. Greater coherence between education and workforce systems has yielded higher rates of student achievement and success particularly for our historically underrepresented and marginalized students. This effort, referred to as College and Career pathways offers real promise for addressing and interrupting educational and economic barriers prevalent across the Great Lakes Region.
Strengthen capacity of secondary, postsecondary, and workforce leaders within each community to effectively implement and sustain high-quality college and career pathway systems. Convene and sustain a GLCCPP Community to learn from one another about best practices in pathways implementation.
Implement a continuum of high-quality work-based learning (WBL) experiences for a large proportion of students. This will result in increased student participation rates in work-based learning (WBL) across the Great Lakes region.
Implement high-quality pathways that extend from early high school through postsecondary credentials aligned to a vision of a graduate.