Through the Pathways to Prosperity Project, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education (EOE), Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education are partnering with community colleges, high schools, local workforce investment boards and employers to develop three career pathway models in healthcare, information technology and advanced manufacturing in the Boston, Metro West, and Hampden County regions, respectively. Partners in these three regions are developing six year pathways for students from high school through community college with the goal of ensuring that many more of them complete high school, attain a postsecondary credential with currency in the labor market, and launch into a career, while leaving open the prospect of further education.
In all three regions, teams are working to:
- Develop 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.
- Establish an early and sustained career information and advising system strong enough to enable students and families to make informed choices about educational career paths.
- Engage with employers committed to providing learning opportunities at the workplace and supporting the transition of young people into the labor market.
Taken together, the implementation of these strategies will enable young people to make a successful transition to working life. Employers and educators will work collaboratively to not only develop the next generation of workers, but also to help young people make the transition from adolescence to adulthood that will produce important social and economic returns on investment for the Commonwealth.
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BOSTON – Health services is among the largest sectors of employment in the Boston area, is one of the key industries driving Boston’s economic recovery, and is expected to add the most jobs of any industry in the next decade. For these reasons, the Boston Pathways to Prosperity Project is targeting career pathways in the health care industry to address the needs of employers’ highest demand occupations. The Boston Pathways to Prosperity Team members include the Boston Public Schools, the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), Bunker Hill Community College’s STAND (Students Taking Action for Nursing Diversity) program and the Harvard Medical School MEDScience program. The team is currently developing two courses (English language arts and math) that will launch in September 2013 for 9th graders at Community Academy for Science and Health and the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. The courses will be aligned to Bunker Hill’s requirements to put students on a path to participating in dual enrollment courses in 11th and 12th grades so that they can earn college credit and proceed toward health care industry certification and/or a degree. The PIC team is engaging with health care employers to ensure the new courses will be infused with work-based opportunities at Boston area health care providers.
HAMPDEN COUNTY – Hampden County is one of the most impoverished regions of the state with average per capita income of $25,363 compared to a state average of $35,051 and 17% of residents living below the poverty level compared to a statewide average of 11%. Only 24% of Hampden County residents aged 25+ have earned a Bachelor’s Degree as compared to a state average of 39%. Given this reality, a critical component of Hampden County’s economic recovery is the education of its labor force to meet the demands of the region’s employers. The Hampden County team includes the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, West Springfield High School, Springfield Technical Community College and regional advanced manufacturing employers. In January, Massachusetts was selected by the U.S. Office of Vocational and Adult Education as one of five states to participate in Advancing Career and Technical Education in State and Local Career Pathways Systems, a two-year career pathways-focused project managed by Jobs for the Future. A coach from the U.S. Office is working in Hampden County as part of this project. Hampden County team members are working co-develop 9th grade courses in advanced manufacturing at West Springfield High that will be launched in September 2013.
METRO WEST – The Metro West region employs 30 percent of the state’s technology workers and has the largest number of technology intensive jobs, therefore the Metro West Pathways to Prosperity team is targeting career pathways in the information technology industry. MassBay Community College, Waltham High, Framingham High, Keefe Regional Technical High School and Partnerships for a Skilled Workforce are in the early stages of developing a six year pathway for students from high school through community college. The Metro West team is in the initial planning stages and is in the process of identifying and engaging with employer partners.
Pathways to Prosperity Network
The Pathways to Prosperity Network is an initiative of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Boston-based Jobs for the Future (JFF) and nine 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) has joined forces with regional employers and workforce development organizations in the Boston, MetroWest and Hampden County regions 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 California, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. For more information, visit: http://www.jff.org/initiatives/pathways-prosperity-network.