For Immediate Release - June 20, 2012

Massachusetts Joins Career Pathways Network to Help Ready State’s Workforce for Success In 21st Century Economy

Collaboration among employers, educators and workforce development organizations will better connect students with career opportunities

BOSTON – Tuesday, June 19 , 2012 – The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced that Massachusetts will join the Pathways to Prosperity Network to help advance the Administration’s efforts to create clear career pathways for students and adult learners that will equip the Commonwealth’s workforce for success in a 21st century global economy. 

The Pathways to Prosperity Network is a collaboration between the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston based Jobs for the Future (JFF) and six states focused on ensuring that many more young people complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market, and get launched on a career while leaving open the prospect of further education. To accomplish this goal, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education (EOE) will join forces with regional employers and workforce development organizations to build a system of pathways for high school age students to and through a postsecondary technical education program and on into the labor market.  Other states participating in the Network are Illinois, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

“The Pathways to Prosperity Network will help us give our students a clear pathway from the classroom to meaningful employment in the workforce,” said Governor Deval Patrick.  “By further aligning our education, labor, and business sectors, we will create a cohesive system of education and skills training responsive to the needs of local employers that better prepares our young people for success in our 21st century economy.”

“This initiative will strengthen partnerships between our high schools, community colleges, employers and local workforce development organizations to build pathways that link work and learning both in and out of the classroom,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville.

Massachusetts will pilot the development of these career pathways in Boston and Springfield in the healthcare, financial services and advanced manufacturing sectors, with the long-term goal of creating a statewide program that can serve a majority of students. In partnership with Bunker Hill, Mass Bay and Springfield Technical Community Colleges, and employer partners, EOE will convene and connect with local high schools and workforce investment boards in the two regions to create three, six-year career pathways beginning in 9th grade that result in training students with the technical skills they will need to be employed in high-demand occupations. 

These projects will produce better alignment and strengthened partnerships between high schools, community colleges, employers and local workforce boards to develop curriculum, provide crucial work experience for high school and college students, lead to credentialing at the community college level and result in gainful employment for students with participating employer partners.

"Massachusetts community colleges can play a significant role in advancing the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative," said Springfield Technical Community College President Dr. Ira H. Rubenzahl. "Specifically we will provide linkages with area high schools and encourage students to enroll in high demand fields at community colleges and ensure upon graduation they obtain good paying jobs."

"Investment in public education is the best economic program for the Commonwealth.  Employers depend on a well-trained workforce and this initiative will help better align educators and employers toward a competitive, 21st century workforce,” said Daniel O'Connell, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. “The business community stands ready to partner in this work which is critical to the success of our economy.”

The Pathways to Prosperity framework includes the following elements of a pathways system:

  • Employers committed to providing learning opportunities at the workplace and supporting the transition of young people into the labor market.
  • Career pathways with clear structures, timelines, costs, and requirements linking and integrating high school and community college curriculum and aligning both with labor market needs.
  • An early and sustained career information and advising system strong enough to enable students and families to make informed choices about educational career paths.
  • Local or regional intermediary organizations to provide the infrastructure and support for the development of such pathways.

“The recent adoption by most states of the “Common Core” standards represents long-overdue recognition of the need for a more uniform national academic currency,” said Nancy Hoffman, Vice-President and Senior Advisor at JFF. “The Common Core is supposed to signal college and career readiness, but “career” has not gotten the attention it needs, especially given college costs and the demands of the twenty first century economy.”

“It is long past time that we broaden the range of high quality pathways that we offer to our young people, beginning in high school,” added Robert Schwartz, Pathways report co-author and HGSE Professor of Practice. “The lessons from other countries strongly suggest that this might be the single most promising strategy for greatly increasing the percentage of young adults who earn a post-secondary degree or credential that prepares them to embark on a meaningful career.”

The Pathways to Prosperity Network is managed by Jobs for the Future and co-led by Robert Schwartz and Nancy Hoffman. JFF will partner with EOE to provide technical assistance for the development of the career pathways. 

 

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future aligns education with today’s high-demand careers. With its partners, JFF develops policy solutions and new pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for struggling and low-income populations in America.

 

About Harvard Graduate School of Education

Since its founding in 1920, the Harvard Graduate School of Education has been training leaders to transform education in the United States and around the globe. Today, our faculty, students, and alumni are studying and solving the most critical challenges facing education: student assessment, the achievement gap, and teacher effectiveness, to name just a few. Through the Ed School’s 13 master’s programs, two doctoral programs, and extensive executive education programs, the HGSE community is pushing the frontiers of education, and the effects of our entrepreneurship are improving the world. More information can be found at www.gse.harvard.edu.

 

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