NSC responds to career pathways request

May 30, 2014

NSC recently submitted comments to the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services on career pathways approaches for the delivery of education, training and employment, and human services. The submission was in response to a Request for Information (RFI) jointly issued by the agencies on April 23. The agencies will continue to collect responses through June 9, 2014.

Through the responses to the RFI, the agencies hope to learn more about existing career pathway models, including: how they are structured and utilized, how they can produce better outcomes for youth and adults, and how cross-agency collaboration can facilitate and support integrated career pathways systems. The agencies plan to then use that knowledge to (1) inform and coordinate policy development, strategic investments, and technical assistance activities, and (2) improve coordination of federal policy development with investments at the state, tribal and local levels.

The RFI is open to a broad range of stakeholders, including employers, training providers, community-based organizations, community and technical colleges, state and local governments, workforce investment boards, state and local educational agencies, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies, economic development agencies, and others. The agencies are asking respondents to address certain questions regarding career pathway approaches in their responses, including questions about which funding streams are currently used to support career pathways, the role of various partners within career pathways systems, responsiveness to labor market demand, and others.

NSC’s response focused on defining the key elements of career pathways—including integrated or contextualized education or training, coordination across key stakeholder groups, linkages to sector partnerships, availability of wraparound supportive services, and access to financial aid for participants—and offered recommendations for how the agencies could better support these elements and the expansion of quality career pathways more broadly.