Career Development Experience Toolkit

Portrait of Heather Penczak
Heather Penczak

Innovation & Implementation Director


Career Development Experiences are both an integral part of the College & Career Pathways Endorsement Framework of the Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act and an essential component of Illinois’ work-based learning continuum as outlined in the Illinois Career Pathways Dictionary.

Our Role

In October 2019, Education Systems Center released a Career Development Experience Toolkit aligned to the frameworks established in the PWR Act and embedded within Illinois’ broader strategies around scaling high-quality career pathways and work-based learning.

The primary purposes of this Toolkit are to:

  • Establish expectations for implementing high-quality, rigorous work-based learning experiences that prepare young people to be college and career ready through the development of Essential, Entrepreneurial and Technical Employability Skills
  • Provide guidance, tools, and frameworks to offer a Career Development Experience, which is a required component of the College and Career Pathway Endorsement framework and is included in the State’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan’s College and Career Readiness Indicator
  • Highlight best practice examples of how organizations are accomplishing this on-the-ground and spark thinking for other communities on how these examples might be modified to fit into their own unique context

These materials serve to provide guidance regardless of where an organization might be in terms of establishing and delivering Career Development Experiences. Each section of the toolkit can be referred to separately or as a whole to inform current practices. All included materials have been made possible through collaboration between EdSystems, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Commerce, and community partners across Illinois.

In October 2021, the Career Development Experience Toolkit Companion Piece was released. The purpose of this extension is to explore career development experiences and provide resources to address the needs of stakeholders outside of a traditional high school setting including workforce development organizations, community-based organizations, and alternative high schools. This companion piece targets these organizations and employers in order to serve youth more inclusively.

The Latest


HB3296/Public Act 102-0917 Brief

An brief on HB3296/Public Act 102-0917, signed into law on May 27, 2022, that advances the Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework and the College and Career Pathway Endorsements.

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